- The inauguration of the first female Vice President of the United States is inspiring women to mark the event in creative ways.
Women across the U.S. are gearing up for Kamala Devi Harris inauguration on Jan. 20. Harris, 56, makes history as America’s first female, first Black American and first South Asian American vice president. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris was a Tamilian from India, while her father, Donald Harris is a Black man from Jamaica.
In California, East Bay’s Koolfi Creamery is honoring Harris with a new ice cream flavor, made with lotus seeds, rose water, and a sprinkle of pistachio nuts. Priti Rama Narayanan, Koolfi Creamery’s “chief ice cream engineer,” told Edible East Bay that Harris’ “name in the Indian language means pink lotus.”
She told Edible East Bay that the Kamala Blossom ice cream was inspired by the stories her father would tell her about plucking delicious fresh lotus seeds to snack on in his village in South India. “My dad’s fun stories inspired me to create this uniquely Indian mithai to celebrate the success of one of our own,” she said.
According to her partner and co-owner Madhuri “Mads” Irene Anji, the ice cream flavor is “a tribute to Harris, who is half Indian” and who touched the married couple with her LGBTQ advocacy. “Her taking that stand was just so important to me. It meant a lot to us,” she said.
In the preface in her memoir “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” Harris dedicates a paragraph on the meaning and the right pronunciation of her name. “First, my name is pronounced ‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark. It means ‘lotus flower,’ which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flower rising above the surface white its roots planted firmly in the river bottom.
In D.C., more than 1,800 people from the U.S. and India participated on Jan. 16 in an online initiative to create thousands of Kolam designs to celebrate Harris’ historic inauguration. Kolam is a traditional Indian art form of drawing geometric patterns on the floors. “In Tamil Nadu, where Harris has roots, women draw Kolams on the ground to invite health and prosperity into houses where they are displayed,” a NDTV report said.
Women of all races are also coming together to honor Harris by pledging to wear pearls on Inauguration Day through a Facebook group called “Wear Pearls on Jan 20 2021.” The idea is to honor Harris, who almost always wears a strand of pearls as a nod to her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.
The New York Times reported that the group was started in early December by Hope Aloaye, 46, a retired navy chief of Orange Park, Florida. “I woke up and thought, ‘We need to come together as women not just to celebrate Kamala Harris, but ourselves,’” she told the Tims. Within a week the group reached 30,000 members. “While many of the participants are Black, there are other races represented in the group from over 99 countries,” the Times reported.