When Kamala Harris took the stage at Glamour‘s 2018 Women of the Year Awards on Monday, November 12th in New York City, she stressed the importance of one thing: truth. In what’s proven to be a categorically challenging year for women in the U.S.
Senator Harris (D-Calif.) directed her acceptance speech at the women in the room, explaining the importance of speaking up in a nation that’s becoming increasingly divided in the face of political polarization. In her address, Harris pleaded with those watching to take their frustration to the polls, inspiring the room to take action and ultimately leaving the ball in the voters’ court.
“The truth and speaking it is a powerful thing. And speaking truth can often make people quite uncomfortable. But if we are going to be a country that engages in honest conversations with the point of getting beyond where we are and seeing what we can be unburdened by what we have been, we must speak truth—and speak the truth uncomfortable and difficult though it may be to hear,” Glamour quoted her as saying.
“You speak the truth, the honorees tonight, about the need for women—particularly women of color—to be seen and heard and for their stories to be told, from the Senate floor to movie sets to concert stages…You speak the truth about gun violence… (about what) tears our communities apart and takes away our children, from Parkland to Chicago to South Los Angeles…You speak the truth about America’s history—in all of its greatness and in all of its complexity.”
Harris said that this is an “inflection” moment in the history of America. “This is a moment where there are powerful forces trying to sew hate and division among us. And if we’re going to deal with where we are in this inflection moment, we must speak all these truths,” she said. “…And years from now, people are going to look in our eyes, each one of us, and they will ask us, ‘Where were you at that inflection moment?’ And what we’re all going to be able to say is we were here together and we were fighting for the best of who we are.”
According to Glamour magazine, these women, which include actress Viola Davis, 97-year-old National Park Service Ranger Betty Reid Soskin, model-author Chrissy Teigen, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, young female activists of March for Our Lives, the women who took down Larry Nassar, Saudi Arabian women’s rights activist Manal al-Sharif, and singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe, “aren’t waiting for the world to change; they’re getting the job done themselves.”