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Kamala Harris

Getting to Know Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris left a mark in world history after being elected as the first woman of color for the second-highest power in the United States, ending the over two-decade rule of men at the highest levels in American politics.

Kamara Harris’ Early Years

Harris’s parents, Shymala Gopalan, from India, and Donald Harris, from Jamaica, were active in the civil rights movement. The two met at the University of California in 1960 when the place was a hotbed of activism. Kamala Harris was left with the care of her late mother when her parents got divorced. She was prepared and brought up with the understanding that the world would see her as a Black woman. She considers her mother to be the greatest influence in her life.

Kamala, or “lotus flower” in Sanskrit recognized her Indian root during her campaign. She even called out her “chitthis” or maternal aunt in Tamil during one of her speeches.

Born in the year 1964 in Oakland, California, Vice President-elect Harris has been an achiever in Democratic politics. She was the first woman to be California’s attorney general and first Indian American senator before Joe Biden asked her to be his running mate in the recent presidential election. She has been a fighter against racial discrimination and a provider of women empowerment.

Harris mostly considered her nomination as part of the underestimated legacy of developing Black women who came before her like educator Mary McLeod, civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hanner and Representative Shirly Chisholm. She believes that even though these women’s experiences and stories are not often told to the public, Americans still stand on these women’s shoulders.

Many believe, including Sara Twyman, 35, and a Black American that it is about high time that a woman is given a chance to occupy the highest levels of a post in the government.

Harris studied at Howard University, one of America’s known Black colleges and universities, and swore Alpha Kappa Alpha, the country’s first sorority made by and for Black ladies.

She is married to Doug Emhoff, a Jewish man who has children from a previous marriage.

Becoming Vice President

Besides victory and excitement, Harris and Biden recognize that there are challenges that need to be faced promptly. There are the continuous and worsening racial tensions in the U.S. amidst the pandemic that has negatively affected Black Americans and a progression of police killings of non-white individuals. When still a prosecutor, Harris has provoked suspicion among reformists and the youth who are looking to her to move clearing institutional change over gradual changes in policing, drug strategy, etc.

In Congress, Harris and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington have collaborated on bills to guarantee proper representation for Muslims who were targeted by Trump’s 2017 travel ban. Jayapal believes Harris’ power did not only come from her own life experiences but from the people she represents as well.

Harris’ friends were in full support during the campaign. Sarah Lane, a 41-year-old attorney who is of Hispanic and Asian heritage volunteered for the campaign for the first time along with her young daughters. She wants her girls to be aware of what women can actually do.

Harris’s win could lead more Black women and minorities into politics.