‘This is why we voted for him’: Local women celebrate inauguration, historic victories for women
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — “It’s about time.”
That was Alethea Stone’s first thought as she and her 8-year-old daughter watched President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris be sworn into office Wednesday.
‘“We’ve waited long enough to finally have a woman holding the second-most powerful position in our country,” she said. “This is a historic moment, and I’m thrilled that my children get to see that.”
Stone, who has lived in Steamboat Springs for 18 years and is helping organize the Women’s March on Steamboat Springs, said Harris’ victory as the first woman of color to serve on a presidential ticket resonated with many women in the area.
“I just burst into tears and thought this was an amazing moment to share with my daughter,” Stone added.
Nelly Navarro, executive director of Integrated Community, a local nonprofit that serves the immigrant population, said Harris’ victory is also a victory for women of color everywhere, as Harris is the first Black woman and person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party in the United States. Harris is also the daughter of immigrants, which Navarro said makes her story “even more powerful.”
“Being the daughter of immigrants gives immigrant families a story to share with kids that they could be the ones accomplishing this in the future,” Navarro said. “We’re really excited about this and that she’s walked through the same roads that we’ve walked through.”
“It’s showing our kids that you can dream to be whatever you want to be, and there’s no limits,” she added.
Several other local women said Harris’ victory sends a symbolic message to their daughters: that they, too, can be the president someday.
Stephanie Kriegel, who moved to Steamboat in August and is helping organize the march, said seeing a female president in her lifetime felt less like a dream and more like a reachable reality after the inauguration.
“We have a woman in the White House now and getting a woman as president seems so likely that I’ll see that in my lifetime,” she said. “It’s a good day for all of us.”
Stone said Biden choosing Harris as his running mate and filling his top leadership positions with women and people of color has been inspiring to watch.
“This is why we voted for him,” she said. “I think that we can really rejoice in the fact that Joe Biden truly is showing us what he values in who he’s appointing to lead these critical positions in our government.”
For Tammie Delaney, owner of Wild Goose Coffee at the Granary in Hayden, the inauguration felt like opening a new chapter of unity, compromise and normalcy.
“So many people have so much more in common than we think, and I hope we can remember that,” she said. “Hopefully, we can sit down for a cup of coffee with each other rather than having arguments on Facebook.”
Delaney also said she thought women bring a unique perspective and sense of compassion to their roles, which she believes is what the country needs after four years under a president who she described as “divisive.”
“Kamala Harris represents our country and represents going back to the premise of some of the qualities that we need most right now — stewardship and service to others that includes everyone, even those we disagree with,” Delaney said.
Libby Lukens, who grew up in Steamboat and is now a senior at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., said the inauguration felt like a return to normalcy for her after watching the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.
“It feels like a weight was lifted off my shoulders,” she said. “It was so difficult to watch what happened at the Capitol and still feel safe.”
The women planning the March on Steamboat, which has involved several initiatives throughout the past two weeks and will conclude with a car parade Saturday, said the event is meant to celebrate female heroes, or “sheroes,” everywhere, from Harris to essential workers in Routt County.
“We’re trying to really promote women in general and how women have inspired other women,” Kriegel said. “Whether that’s our frontline workers or it’s Kamala Harris, women are doing so many things that should be seen as inspiration for everyone else.”
Women in Routt County are invited to listen to a reading in English and Spanish of Harris’ book “Superheroes are Everywhere,” as well as participate in a virtual toast at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
On Saturday, the group will hold a car parade beginning at 10 a.m. in the Strings Music Pavilion parking lot. More information can be found on the group’s Facebook page.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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