Harris reflects on breaking down barriers: Sometimes ‘you need to kick that f***ing door down’ to accomplish your dreams

Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday reflected on her experiences as a barrier-breaking public figure, telling a crowd in blunt terms that sometimes they need to take it upon themselves strive for their own opportunities and successes – even if others may doubt them.

“We have to know that sometimes people will open the door for you and leave it open,” Harris said in a moderated conversation with actor and comedian Jimmy O. Yang in Washington.

“Sometimes they won’t – and then you need to kick that f***ing door down,” she added, to applause and laughter from the crowd.

She added, “Excuse my language,” as the crowd continued to laugh and applaud.

Harris’ statement came as she marked Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, reflecting on her experience as the country’s first female, first Black and first Asian American vice president.

Harris told Yang that people should never use others’ preconceptions of what they’re capable of to limit their own dreams and desires.

“Don’t ever carry, as a personal burden, your capacity to do whatever you dream and aspire to do based on other people’s limited ability to see who can do what,” Harris said.

Harris this year has become a key figure for President Joe Biden’s administration and campaign, criss-crossing the country making points that might be more difficult for the president – an older white man – to make himself.

Her efforts have included serving as the administration’s point person on abortion rights, becoming the first sitting president or vice president to visit an abortion provider and traveling to states such as Florida and Arizona, where new court rulings and laws have thrown into doubt the future of abortion access.

Harris on Monday also discussed the administrations efforts to protect the legal right to an abortion, making references to the 2022 Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.

“A decision has been made that takes from the American people a fundamental freedom to make decisions about one’s own body,” Harris told Yang. “Think about what that’s taking us back to, that one does not have the right to exercise authority over issues that I call heart and home, issues that are fundamental to what should be a right to decide to start a family or not.”

Harris also reflected on efforts to curb gun violence, expressing optimism that young voters, who have borne the brunt of gun violence in schools, will lead the charge in effecting change.

“When our young leaders start voting in their numbers on so many of these issues, I believe we are going to see a sea change in terms of how we address it, because our young leaders in particular are very practical and they want to see things done – and what I love about them is they’re not gonna wait for us to figure it out, they’re gonna do it,” she said.

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