Vice President Kamala Harris is going to have to get used to being a lot of firsts.
She is the first Black woman to be vice president.
She is also the first South Asian-American to be vice president.
She is also the first vice president to actively know who Eric B. is and understand that despite his lackluster push for presidency, Eric B. is president.
On Friday, Harris became the first woman to address the 2021 graduating class at the U.S. Naval Academy.
During the speech, Harris touched on some of the biggest threats to the nation and its armed forces, including the pandemic, cybersecurity and climate change. One White House official said the address was her first broad speech focused on the military and the threats the country faces today.
“The global pandemic — you see, of course — has accelerated what was happening before, and it has accelerated our world into a new era. It has forever impacted our world. It has forever influenced our perspective. And if we weren’t clear before, we know now: Our world is interconnected. Our world is interdependent. And our world is fragile,” Harris said.
“Just think: A deadly pandemic can spread throughout the globe in just a matter of months. A gang of hackers can disrupt the fuel supply of a whole seaboard. One country’s carbon emissions can threaten the sustainability of the whole Earth. This, midshipmen, is the era we’re in. It is unlike any era that came before. So, the challenge now, the challenge before us now is how to mount a modern defense to these modern threats.”
CNN notes that presidents and vice presidents deliver commencement speeches at service academies, so it makes sense that since Harris is the first female vice president in the history of America, that she would also be the first female vice president to give said speech.
Harris issued a call to action to the graduates, asking that they defend the nation and make historic advances in all areas.
“We must defend our nation against these threats. And at the same time, we must make advances in things like quantum computing, artificial intelligence, robotics, things that will put our nation at a strategic advantage,” Harris will say, according to the excerpts.
“You will be the ones to do it. The United States military is the best, the bravest, and the most brilliant. From walkie talkies, to the Internet, to satellite navigation, the United States military that has been at the forefront of research, development and technological advancement. That is a point of American pride. And as I look at you, I know you will build on this leadership.”
Harris has already spoken with Midshipman First Class Sydney Barber, the first Black woman to serve as brigade commander at the academy. CNN notes that “The prestigious brigade role serves as a class president of sorts as Barber oversees the student body. Harris has a pair of Barber’s shoulder boards in her ceremonial office as well, placed there after Harris was sworn in, the official added.”