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VP Harris becomes first woman Naval Academy commencement speaker

About 1,000 students are graduating at the in-person ceremony at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland

Black History

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during a COVID-19 memorial, with lights placed around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
By: Alyssa Wilson

Vice President Kamala Harris is no stranger to making history, and she’s done it again. On Friday, she will serve as the first woman to deliver a commencement speech at the United States Naval Academy.  

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According to The New York Times, Harris is expected to address the Biden administration’s critical issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and cybersecurity threats. Her prepared remarks indicate she will say, “The global pandemic has launched us into a new era. It has forever impacted our world. If we weren’t clear before, we know now: Our world is interconnected. Our world is interdependent. Our world is fragile.” 

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Presidents and vice presidents deliver commencement speeches to United States service academies on a rotating basis. Harris is the first to return to the Naval Academy since former President Donald Trump spoke in 2018. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden delivered the commencement speech to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduates.  

In addition to Harris’ history-making speech, Midshipman First Class Sydney Barber will be the first Black woman in the Naval Academy’s history to serve as a brigade commander. According to the Times, Barber and Harris recently spoke virtually to congratulate each other for the historic feats 

“You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last,” she told Barber.