As both an African American and a woman, I never thought I would see a moment like the swearing-in of Vice President Kamala Harris.

Watching from home, while wearing pearls in honor of Harris, I was literally crying. I’m glad I wasn’t at work, where people could see my reaction. It kind of surprised me.

I was thinking of my late mother, who would have loved this great moment in our history.

I thought of my three wide-eyed twentysomething nieces and what it might mean for them and their careers.

I thought of little brown girls and white girls and young women everywhere who have to push back against sexism and Me Too-type antics in the workplace.

As Harris took her oath of office, our new Madam Vice President burst through one of the toughest remaining barriers to one of the highest seats of power with a vengeance. She shattered the proverbial glass ceiling. It’s no more. For me, the historical implications of that overshadowed practically everything else.

Yes, President Joe Biden was sworn in and delivered a great inaugural address. And Lady Gaga killed it in that red-and-navy ballgown when she sang our national anthem. The symbolism behind Garth Brooks’ rendition of “Amazing Grace” moved me.

But what I will remember for the rest of my days is that America finally got her first female vice president, who was also Black and Asian American. And she was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first woman of color on the Supreme Court, and used a Bible that belonged to the late Justice Thurgood Marshall. The optics were surreal.

To me it symbolized what the American dream is supposed to be about — you can work hard and achieve what you want regardless of your race or sex. As a nation, we can take great pride in this moment because we inched closer to living up to what this country is supposed to be about.

As a result, future generations will get to grow up in a world in which having a female vice president — and hopefully someday soon a woman president — won’t be noteworthy.

We’re not there yet. Not by a long shot. But one day, we will be.

And when that time finally arrives, we will wax nostalgic about this moment. We’ll smile and recall where we were and what we were doing when we witnessed Harris’ swearing-in on a chilly day more than 100 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the vote and 56 years after the Voting Rights Act was passed. Yes, it took America way too long to get a female this far, but it’s finally happened.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe our much-revered Founding Fathers didn’t think enough of their wives, daughters, and sisters to ensure them that basic right. Their paternalism, misogyny, and racism will forever stain their legacies.

Going forward, women and girls of all backgrounds will draw inspiration from what Harris has accomplished. This moment is not hers alone. Harris stands on the proverbial shoulders of Hillary Clinton, Shirley Chisholm, and Fannie Lou Hamer, as well as countless others. Harris doesn’t shy away from acknowledging those who helped pave the way, as you were probably reminded by that double-handed fist bump she gave former President Barack Obama after the inauguration ceremony.

I never met Harris when we were students at Howard University during the 1980s. I wish I had. I spent most of my time hanging around the student newspaper and campus radio station. She was probably busy with student government and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority events.

I look forward to seeing what she and Biden accomplish during the next four years.

I am going to love saying Vice President Harris.

Regardless of political affiliation, it’s something the rest of America will get used to as well.