Black History Month: Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris, a well-known woman in American politics, is now the first woman to be vice president and the first African American vice president. Harris has broken several boundaries and is serving as an inspiration to many people today.

Harris was born on Oct. 20, 1964, in Oakland, Calif. She had two immigrant parents Donald Harris and Shyamala Gopalan. Her Jamaican father taught at Stanford University, and her mother, who was Indian, was a cancer researcher. They were both very involved in politics and bonded over their similarities. Her mother was even able to meet Martin Luther King Jr. after a speech at Berkeley in 1967. However, her parents got divorced when Harris was seven years old.

Harris and her mom eventually moved to Montreal, Canada when she was 12 and attended Westmount Highschool. In her college years, she attended Howard University in Washington D.C. Then she went on to the UC Hastings College to Study Law.

Harris went on to work as a deputy district attorney from 1990-1998 in Oakland, Calif. She prosecuted cases of gang violence, drug trafficking, and sexual abuse. She quickly moved up in ranks, and in 2004, was elected as the district attorney. She was elected in 2010 as attorney general of California, breaking a boundary by becoming the first female and the first African American to have her post.

In the following years, Harris took political independence, was an advocate for same-sex marriage and refused to defend Proposition 8 (the ban of same-sex marriage). She called for immigration and criminal-justice reforms, increases in the minimum wage and advocated for the protection of women’s reproductive rights. In 2015, Harris was recruited to run for the U.S Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer and won the election in 2016. When she took office in 2017, she became the first Indian American in the Senate, where she served on the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Judiciary Committee. 

Harris was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination for the election in 2020 but dropped out of the race in December of 2019. Although, she continued to have a high profile and advocated for social justice. In August of 2020, Harris was chosen as Presidential Candidate Joe Biden’s running mate. Their campaign won the election against former President Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence. 

On Nov. 7, 2020, Biden and Harris won the presidential election. Harris resigned from the Senate on Jan. 18 and was sworn into office on Jan. 20. Harris is the first woman, first black person, and first person of Asian descent ever elected into the vice president position.