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Many years after elementary school, “Ms. Frances Wilson attended my law degree,” said Harris, remembering with a smile. “Like every teacher I know, she was invested, committed, and convinced me and all of her students that we can be and do anything.”
Next, she talked about Regina Shelton, who looked after Harris and her little sister when their mother, a scientist and prominent breast cancer researcher, was at work. Their parents divorced when she was 7 years old.
Courtesy Vice President Kamala Harris via the USA TODAY NETWORK
“My mother worked long days and she often worked on weekends and my sister and I went down to Miss Shelton’s house. And she was our second mother. She looked after us.”
National columnist Suzette Hackney and I interviewed Harris to start USA TODAY’s Women of the Year project in which we will recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of American women.
Nominate a woman for leadership or resilience for USA TODAY’s Women of the Year project. We are looking for women who stand up for justice, inspire change, uplift others and give everyday women a place where they can see themselves.
‘You are strong.’ Vice President Kamala Harris has a message for American women
USA TODAY wants to honor the exceptional women who make their communities better. You can help.
Rita Moreno and Ruby Bridges were named Women of the Century by USA TODAY in 2020.Photos: Dan MacMedan, USA TODAY; Tom Dumont, Illustrations: USA TODAY Network
Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy winner Rita Moreno, who has enjoyed singing and dancing since childhood, remembers a New York dance teacher who nurtured her natural talent. “It all started here,” she said.
Civil Rights Lawyer Ruby Bridges speaks fondly of Barbara HenryIn 1960, the year she incorporated William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, she was her first class teacher. She first met Henry in an empty classroom. other families did not let their children study alongside her. The school would be integrated, but Bridges would be taught in one class.
“Every time I walked into the school building and my classroom, I was greeted by this white woman who showed me her heart,” said Bridges. “She was amazing. She was fun for school. I knew she would take care of me and I felt safe and I couldn’t wait to get to school. I knew that if I just attended the Crowd passed by in this classroom I just knew I was going to have a good day. “
More than 2.5 million women have left the workforce, compared to 1.8 million men since January 2020, many because of Lack of childcare when schools closeothers because they did not have the flexibility to care for their own loved ones.
Harris said we must “appreciate” the dignity of this work.
“If we look at the jobs women do, especially in low-wage positions, these are the jobs that are always about caring for other people. And that is something we should value as a society,” she said.
Vice President Kamala HarrisIf we look at the jobs women do, especially in low-wage positions, these are the jobs that are always about taking care of other people. And we should appreciate that as a society.
“It is an incredible gift they give us as a society, but we have unfortunately diminished our appreciation of their worth, and the reflection of our diminishing appreciation is that we don’t pay people enough money to do the job they do . ” do it. “
During the pandemic, we saw who is important, what jobs are needed to keep our lives and communities going. The grocers, social workers, pharmacy technicians, child carers, Health care Manpower. The Teacher.
During our interview, like this week, Harris mentioned She met with the superintendent of the Duval County School District in Florida.
Vice President Kamala Harris takes on the role of representing American women
Employee Video, USA TODAY
“She described how teachers and educators went to the bus stops where the school bus normally went to make sure they were there to bring food to the hungry children who really face so many challenges,” Harris said.
“She described having what they call blessings in a backpack and how educators in open schools filled the children’s backpacks on Friday afternoons, knowing that they will be going home and probably not just any meal over the weekend.
“Teachers, just the heroes among us.”
When women are pushed out of the workforce, it affects far more than just the women themselves.
Nicole Carroll is the US Editor-in-Chief TODAY. Reach them at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter here. Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can Subscribe to our print edition, ad-free experience or electronic newspaper replica here.
Released 8:20 UTC March 26, 2021
Updated 9:01 UTC March 26, 2021