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Change in power also means change in representation

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris
Posted at 9:53 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 00:28:38-05

DENVER — A new era at the White House means not just a change in power but also representation.

Cleo Parker Robinson, 72, is a business owner and fixture in the Five Points neighborhood in Denver. Like Vice President Kamala Harris, she comes from an interracial family as the daughter of a Black man and a white woman.

"Seeing Kamala Harris become vice president was just so thrilling. I cried all morning," Parker Robinson said.

Parker Robinson served in Washington two decades ago. She said she wasn't sure a woman would reach the level Harris achieved, but she always held onto hope.

"I kept walking through the White House halls, and there’s all these pictures of great men, and I said 'one time there’s going to be a person of color and a woman before I’m gone,' and so I am very happy. I’m so full, I can’t believe it," Parker Robinson said.

Heather Barry, vice chair of the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, said belief is something Harris has now instilled to the younger generations.

"I am a mother of two young girls, so from a mother‘s perspective, to see a woman, and a woman of color, take the highest oath of office that this country has means so much to me," Heather Barry said.

She and her two young girls spent a good part of their day glued to their television.

"When we were watching the inauguration, Mom told me that this is history in the making, and this is something you’ll never forget or your sister will never forget," said Heather Barry's 10-year-old daughter London Barry.

London Barry said she feels inspired watching Wednesday's inauguration.

"You don’t often get women or Black women into these powerful positions. So, watching a Black woman, or just a woman, have one of those powerful positions, really, it’s just like yay, I can’t believe this is happening," London Barry said.

Harris is not only the first woman and Black person to become vice president, she's also the first Indian-American and Asian-American to take the position.

"It was a very big day for Indians," Roshan Bhartiya said.

Bhartiya moved to the U.S. nearly 20 years ago from India. He said joy took over him as he watched Harris make history.

"I was happy. I’m proud," Bhartiya said.

Dr. Priya Chopra is Indian-American. She recalls a conversation she recently had with her parents about representation.

"My parents reminded me when I was younger, I’d ask them 'why aren’t U.S. presidents and vice presidents women?' It’s really cool to think that little girls growing up today won’t ask that question," Chopra said.

Between President Joe Biden's grandchildren and Harris' husband, the first and second families are also bringing in traditions of the Jewish religion rarely seen in the White House.

President of Jewish Colorado, Jay Strear, feels a sense of pride, not just for his religion but also for his children.

"When I looked at my two girls and I knew they could reach the highest level of responsibility, not power but responsibility, in this country, that’s what moved me in the most profound manner," Strear said.

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