My name is Ava Conway. I am a ninth grader at Eastern View High School and a member of Culpeper Youth’s Youth Advisory Council. I am an enthusiast of the performing arts, and am very passionate about musical theatre. I do not enjoy politics, and usually avoid them. The events of Wednesday, January 20, 2021, though, were an exception. This was the day that Kamala Harris officially became the first female, first Black, and first Asian Vice President of the United States.
Kamala Harris represents three “firsts,” but why is that so important to many people in this country? Why is it important to someone like myself who has no interest in politics? Why are “firsts” so crucial? This past Christmas, I received two excellent books as gifts from my sister. The first of them was titled “Musicals: The Definitive Illustrated Story.” This is a book that highlights the most notable and influential musicals and people in musical theatre history. However, not many people of color were represented in the book. The other book was titled “Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way” by Stewart F. Lane, which highlights black performers and their journeys in theatre. She got both books because she knew that I wanted to pursue musical theatre, and also wanted me to see other black people doing what I aspire to do. I had previously noticed the unfulfilling lack of diversity in musical theatre, so it was meaningful and inspiring for me to be able to see people that look like me pursuing a career in the art.
Many people are told throughout their lives that they can do whatever they put their minds to. In my opinion this is true, but let’s be honest. Sometimes it is hard to stay focused on your goals when the only people you see doing what you want to do look nothing like you. How can you do something that has never been done before? This is why “firsts” are so important. They remind us that we can do something that hasn’t been done before. Somewhere there is a young woman, an asian boy, or a black girl who wants to be a political leader someday, and because of Kamala Harris, they won’t give up.