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2020 election inspiring women to run for political office

Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris will be the first woman, and woman of color, to be sworn in as vice president in the history of the United States.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Women and politics... they've come so far, and yet there's still a mountain to climb.

Last week; however, a tremendous stride was made when Americans made their voices heard and Democracy decided the next vice president-elect of the United States would not only be a woman, but a woman of color — former presidential candidate and senior Senator Kamala Harris of California. 

Arguably, the 2020 election has been the most contentious, anxiety-provoking, challenging, and divisive election cycle this country has seen. 

Yet, in the midst of it all, looking back on history... women, especially women of color, have waited for their voices to be heard at the table, the highest table, since the beginning of time. 

The first woman to run for vice president ran back in 1884, 60 years later the first Black woman decided follow suit in 1952.

Fast-forward to 2016, though many cracks were made in the ceiling in the interim, Hillary Clinton made a historic crack in the ceiling by securing the Democratic nomination for presidency.

Though Clinton didn't make it into the Oval Office, by 2020, seven women, including now Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, were campaigning and debating for the presidency.

When it comes to being a woman in politics, particularly a woman of color, Buffalo's Comptroller Barbara Miller-Williams is not new to the game. 

Prior to becoming the city's first woman and woman of color to hold the title of Comptroller, Miller-Williams was the first woman to chair the Erie County Legislature. 

Despite her resume and experiences, making a name and an impression in male-dominated positions is never easy.

"I realized that when young women look at me they can not only aspire to be like me, but something greater," Miller-Williams says.

Now, with Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris months away from taking on her new role, girls and boys, particularly in communities of color are dreaming bigger.

Diana Cihak is the founder of Women Equity, a state-wide organization founded back in 2010 that helps give women the tools and knowledge they need to run for office. Cihak says a big reason within just four years that more and more women are getting involved in politics has to do with the fallout of the 2016 election between Hillary Clinton and President Donald Trump. 

"A lot of women became really politically aware and saw their daughters were watching, that made a difference," Cihak said.

Miller-Williams says, as a Black woman, it's not easy to always be the first, but it's always an honor and much of the credit goes to those who trailblazed the path before.

"They have cracked the ceiling, and as they've cracked it, then we have come along and shattered it," Miller-Williams says. 

As for what having a woman, one who is a minority, as vice president means for America, both Miller-Williams and Cihak agree that this can only make for a more inclusive America — that is a good thing at the end of the day. 

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