Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be making more than one symbolic statement at her inauguration on Wednesday.
According to ABC News, Harris will mark her historic inauguration as vice president by swearing-in on a bible that belonged to civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall, who was the first Black Supreme Court justice.
Harris will be sworn into office by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor—who notably holds the title of being the first Latina to sit on the nation’s highest court. Sotomayor was nominated to the Supreme Court by the first Black president, Barack Obama.
The vice president-elect will also swear-in on a bible that was previously owned by Regina Shelton, a neighbor of Harris’ in childhood who she has described as a second mother who was an “enduring and encouraging presence” in her life.
From ABC News:
Harris has carried the memory of Shelton throughout her life. Harris used Shelton’s bible during her swearing in for California Attorney General and the United States Senate.
The second bible belonged to the late civil rights icon and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, someone who inspired Harris’ career path.
“Some of my greatest heroes were lawyers: Thurgood Marshall, Charles Hamilton Houston, Constance Baker Motley—giants of the civil rights movement. I cared a lot about fairness, and I saw the law as a tool that can help make things fair,” Harris wrote in her memoir, “The Truths We Hold.”
Harris even credited her matriculation at Howard University to Marshall, who also graduated from the historically black university.
“I wanted to get off on the right foot,” wrote Harris. “And what better place to do that, I thought, than at Thurgood Marshall’s alma mater?”
The symbolism of Harris bringing a token of Marshall’s to her inauguration as this nation’s first Black and female vice president is powerful, especially in light of the past four years of intense white supremacist backlash—exemplified by Trump’s presidency and everything that has happened under it—against the ascension of people of color and women to positions they were historically shut out of.
Swearing-in on Marshall’s bible while saying her oath of office to Sotomayor is Harris essentially saying to all those mad at our continue rise and resilience: you can stay mad.
CNN reports that Harris will resign her seat in the U.S. Senate representing California on Monday, ahead of her inauguration as vice president on Jan. 20.