Vice President Kamala Harris, a repeat history-maker, spoke to midshipman Sydney Barber, the primary Black girl brigade commander on the U.S. Naval Academy, about being a trailblazer — and instructed Barber to “be sure to’re not the final.”
In a conversation over Zoom — held on Might 20 however publicly launched Saturday — Harris spoke to Barber from the vp’s ceremonial workplace in D.C., telling the then-soon-to-be Naval Academy graduate that she had “completed a lot that’s going to influence individuals you could by no means meet. … It’s actually extraordinary what you’ve completed.”
“Properly ma’am,” the midshipman answered, “I might say the identical about you.”
Barber made history earlier this 12 months when she turned the primary Black girl to command a brigade of midshipmen, holding the best management place within the brigade as the one midshipman captain.
Harris, in the meantime, made historical past Friday by turning into the first woman to ship the graduation deal with on the Naval Academy in its 175-year historical past.
Beforehand, Harris has damaged quite a few limitations, together with turning into the primary girl, first Black and first Asian American vice president; the second Black girl to be elected as a U.S. senator; and the first Black person and woman to be California’s lawyer normal.
The vp — who shows Barber’s shoulder boards, with the stripes she earned within the Naval Academy, in her ceremonial workplace — instructed Barber what her personal mom once said to her: “You would be the first to do many issues, you be sure to’re not the final.”
Barber, a brand new graduate who majored in mechanical engineering and plans to hitch the Marines, helped create the Midshipman Diversity Team on the Naval Academy, which goals to advertise range and inclusion within the brigade. She additionally began a program to mentor college students in STEM within the Annapolis space.
In her dialog with Harris, Barber spoke concerning the significance of being a mentor for youthful college students, lots of whom face poverty and academic disparities, to allow them to “see that somebody who seems like them will also be Black, however stunning and good.”
“And never apologizing for it!” Harris reduce in, laughing.
“I don’t suppose I’d be right here if another person didn’t see the potential in me that I couldn’t see myself,” Barber stated.
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