Hours after their historic win, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris made their victory speeches from the Chase Center in Biden's hometown of Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday night (November 7).
Madam Vice President-elect — the first woman and the first Black and South Asian American to win the vice president position — addressed the nation first, walking on stage to the song "Work That" by Mary J. Blige before beginning her speech with a quote from late Congressman John Lewis.
“Democracy is not a state. It is an act," Harris, wearing suffragette white, recited before explaining the meaning of the quote, which Lewis wrote before his passing. "What [Congressman Lewis] meant was that America’s democracy is not guaranteed. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it; to guard it—and that’s exactly what you did," she told the Nation. “And when our very democracy was on the ballot in this election — with the very soul of America at stake and the world watching — you ushered in a new day for America."
Harris went on to thank those who made the Biden-Harris win possible, saying, "To our campaign staff and volunteers, thank you for bringing more people than ever before into the democratic process. To all the poll workers and election officials, our nation owes you a debt of gratitude. And to the American people: thank you for making your voices heard."
She also paid tribute to the women of color who “have paved the way for this moment tonight — women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty and justice for all, including the Black women who are often — too often overlooked but so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy."
The daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, Harris additionally thanked her late mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris. “When she came here from India at the age of 19, she maybe didn't quite imagine this moment," Harris said of her mother, an Indian immigrant. "But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible, and so I am thinking about her and about the generations of women, Black women, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women, who throughout our nation’s history, who paved the way to tonight, women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all. [...] While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Every little girl that’s watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
"For four years, you marched and organized for equality and justice, for our lives, and for our planet," Harris continued. "And then, you voted. You voted for hope, unity, decency, science, and truth when you chose Joe Biden as the next President of the United States of America."
Harris then introduced President-elect Biden, who jogged to the stage and delivered a message of unity and hope.
"I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify. Who doesn't see red states and blue states, only sees the United States," he said. "And work with all my heart with the confidence of the whole people, to win the confidence of all of you. And for that is what America I believe is about. It's about people, and that's what our administration will be all about."
Biden added, "it's time to put away the harsh rhetoric" and called on Americans to "stop treating our opponents as our enemies." He also spoke of the support he's received from the African American community, saying, "The African American community stood up for me. You've always had my back and I'll have yours."
"Folks, I'm a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president. I'll work as hard for those who didn't vote for me as those who did. Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now," Biden said.
The President-elect additionally declared that the next four years will be a time for America to come together and heal. "The Bible tells us for everything there is a season, a time to build, a time to reap, and a time to sow and a time to heal. This is the time to heal in America."
After Biden was done speaking, he was joined on stage by his family and Harris' family for a firework show.
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