POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A pandemic couldn’t stop the excitement of Polk State College students as they watched President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris take their oaths of office Wednesday.
While they would normally be watching the inauguration together somewhere on campus, members of the Student Government Association watched history unfold over Zoom.
“It’s a breath of fresh air,” said Giselle Mason, a student.
The four students, all young women of color, reflected on the rise of Vice President Harris, a Black woman of south Asian descent.
Women, they say, can no longer be put in a box.
“She’s giving girls the opportunity to dream big,” Whetchina Jean, a student. “It’s making us know that it is possible for you to be in that position. It is possible for you to be a woman of power, to be independent and in showing us there’s nothing wrong with wanting power.”
Many of these college students graduated high school during Trump’s presidency and will enter the workforce and adulthood with the Biden administration shaping their country and their world.
They all expressed hope for him and for the future.
“I got emotional multiple times throughout this entire thing,” said Ritinella Lewin, a Polk State College student.
Lewin took note of President Biden’s promise he would stand up for marginalized Americans, including LGBTQ+, Black, and Hispanic people.
“He was speaking to all of us and he promised justice for all of us. I really do hope that he makes good on that promise because that in my opinion is what the American dream is all about,” she said.
Much of President Biden’s speech and the discussion about it centered around unity.
“Is unity possible? Can they do it?” asked 8 On Your Side’s Staci DaSilva.
“I believe so.”
“I think they can.”
“To know that our world is watching and that they know that we’re still America. We’re still a union. We’re still together,” said Aalayah Jones, a student.