Kamala Harris is on the brink of history — and our kids are watching. As the nation prepares to inaugurate the United States’ first-ever female vice president, we asked a group of teens to share their thoughts on the momentous occasion.
SheKnows’ “Hatch Kids” — a group of tweens and teens that we’ve been following since 2014 in order to get the unfiltered opinions of Gen Z — have a lot to say about the outgoing Trump administration and the incoming Biden-Harris administration. They’re full of hope — and fear.
The good news is, these teens are just as excited about Kamala Harris’ historic election win as we’d expect them to be. The fact that a Black woman of South Asian descent will hold the second-highest office in the U.S. isn’t lost on them.
“Kamala Harris’ appointment means that the United States of America believes women of color and women in general to be capable and qualified leaders,” says Juno, 15, “and that means a lot.” Adds Julia, 15: “I think it’s important to recognize the significance of her being vice president. And I think it’s a step in a direction that will help so many people and improve our country.”
Indeed, the future really does feel female, more than ever: “I feel like there’s going to be a lot more opportunities for anybody whose identity has been criticized, for anybody who’s felt like they couldn’t succeed in a Trump America,” says Reed, 15. “I think that’s a really awesome thing to feel.”
And yet… it’s not all hope and glory. As happy as these teens feel about our Madam Vice President, there’s fear and nervousness about the state of our country, too. These kids think Donald Trump is a racist — and the damage done by four years of a Trump presidency is evident in what they say. After the attack on our nation’s Capitol, they share fear about the inauguration itself — “They’re still angry and I’m sure there’ll be protests at the inauguration,” says Jack, 15; the views that so many Trump supporters still hold; a Trump 2024 candidacy; and what it all means for them.
“I think that growing up in the Trump era kind of made my whole generation a lot more pessimistic about what they could achieve,” admits Reed. “You see the president is supposed to be somebody who’s respected and somebody who’s the voice of the nation saying these, like, despicable things.
It’s hard to hear that kind of earned pessimism from our kids. It’s natural, as parents, to want to shield our young humans from the most unpleasant parts of politics, but as these kids show us so eloquently, it’s not possible, and not even smart to try. If we’re striving to raise well-informed and conscientious young people — young people who will lead the charge for change, who will become the next generation of politicians — we need to talk about it all.
So on January 20, 2021, these kids — all our kids — will watch as history is made and a new chapter begins. They’ll be filled with hope — but still know there is so much work to be done. They’ll be watching, learning, planning on voting, and maybe planning on running themselves. The door is open — Kamala Harris has opened it.
“I’ve always known that I’m capable of achieving anything,” Juno says, “but I think Kamala’s appointment simply proves that I have support and that other people believe in me as much as I believe in myself.