Harris’ election inspires West Michiganders of ‘American Dream’

Michigan News

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — This election has broken a lot of barriers, such as the first Black woman poised to fill the vice presidency, but that’s not the only glass ceiling being shattered.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is the first biracial woman projected to become vice president, with her mother being born in India and her father in Jamaica.

It’s now inspiring those who aren’t originally from the United States to know that the American dream is possible.

“I never thought in my life, actually, that I would get to see that,” said Margarita Gonzalez, who lives in Byron Center.

Gonzalez was born in Medellín, Colombia and moved to the United States when she was only 6 years old. She says it was not an easy task for her family.

“From the minute we got off the airplane, things went bad. You have no idea where you’re going to stay, we had nowhere to stay,” said Gonzalez.

She says seeing someone like Harris, who grew up in an immigrant household, come this far means something much deeper to her.

“I just get teared up because I literally, I didn’t want to show it in front of my family, but it’s touching,” said Gonzalez. “You feel for her, for everything that she had to do, the person that she had to be.”

“That’s me. That’s like a representation of who I am,” said Gelma Akoi, who was born in Liberia and now lives in Kalamazoo.

Akoi and Thao Quyên Tran, from Grand Rapids and born in South Vietnam, are also inspired. They say this shows them that anything is possible.

“That’s a representation for my girls also, so they can grow up and say like, that’s someone just like you and you can do that also,” said Akoi.

“It shows that as long as you work hard, you will get to somewhere where it’s really good,” said Tran.

Gonzalez hopes that she follows in Harris’ footsteps and shows her parents that the struggles they went through were worth it.

“I want to show them myself that I can be something and then my child can be something, and then they will understand and finally be like OK, there is an American dream,” said Gonzalez.

These three women also say that they hope this election showcases a form of unity and that it’s not impossible to have a seat at the table.

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