Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris’s Life Was Full of Firsts And Now Is The First Woman of Color in the Highest Ranking Office

Joe Biden, as a then pre-election Presidential candidate wanted a running mate – someone ‘strong’, qualified for the Vice President job and pledged the Vice President candidate will be a woman of color . For months, the anticipation of who will serve in the highest office along side the President, as the first Madame VP candidate had every woman on the edge of her seat. After years of the Trump administration, our country needed a swift change and was already over due for a qualified woman serving at the highest branch of the United States, the Executive Office. It was clear that there had been a frontrunner VP candidate and it was only a matter of time Biden would announce Kamala Harris as his running mate choice for Vice President.  Both Biden and Harris won our 2020 Election – a historic election win made by an unapologetic woman of color as Vice President, the ‘first’ in our nation’s history. Turns out Kamala Harris’s life was full of firsts leading her all the way to the White House.

According to Catalyst.org, women of color will be the majority of all women in the United States by 2060 combined with Asian females and other women of color groups. A woman of color Vice President of the United States makes the most sense for the future of the nation. Kamala Harris comes into a time where doors and windows are opening for Black/Latinx/Women of Color in public serving government positions. Many ‘firsts’ are being made and continue on.

No question that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has unbridled ambition and her life was full of breaking barriers.

Her mother said, “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.”

 

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Early Days

Kamala Harris’s life was full of firsts…the road to the White House for Vice President started in Oakland. Oakland, was the birth place of progressive ideas, civil rights movements and mobilizing organizations like the Black Panther party. She grew up with diversity and cross cultural experiences being both Black and South East Asian-Indian. She grew up in an area of Bay Area/East Bay redlining, part of her second class of working class Black young students integrating with white students in more affluent Berkeley district schools. An account Harris shares in her memoir ‘The Truths We Hold‘ which is selling off the shelves, since her historic election win. 

Harris’s parents were both immigrants and student activists. Her late mother studied Science at UC Berkeley, at a time when not too many women did and became biomedical scientist and leading a leading cancer researcher. A South East Indian immigrant, she named her first daughter, ‘Kamala’, which means ‘lotus flower’ and Kamala’s father, a Jamaican educator and scholar who taught economics at Stanford University. Kamala has a younger sister, Maya who like Kamala is also an attorney.

Kamala Harris is unapologetic about her pride being both a Black and Indian-American woman, in addition a daughter of immigrants. Harris is first South Asian American Vice President hold an executive office position.

Later in life, after her parents had divorced, she grew up as a teenager in Montreal, Canada where her single-mother supported Kamala and her sister as a university professor.

 

Kamala attended the prestigious Howard University, one of the largest HBCUs (Historical Black College University) for her undergraduate studies in political science and economics, graduating in 1986 at a time where Black Americans were the majority and culture influential in Washington DC. So Harris is the first HBCU graduate and first Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority member to be elected to the highest executive office of the land.

Back in the San Francisco/Bay Area, Harris attended the UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and became a President of Black Lawyers Association.

Career Days 

Kamala Harris made progressive career moves towards a desire to serve her local community in the East Bay, California. Harris served as assistant district attorney and then was elected as district attorney (DA) of San Francisco. Harris’s career and visibility as the first Black DA and woman of color for San Francisco made waves in political arenas across the nation, an example of what can be done in other cities. 

Harris’s career was rocked by controversy and her controversial stance on criminal justice. Labeled a ‘cop’ in the negative sense, she was becoming less known for the lack of progressive decision-making around the broken criminal defense system.

 

 

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Harris’s national profile gained more attention when she questioned the Trump administration several times from immigration issues, to the separation of families. Then, Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault. Harris was adamant on exposing Trump for his antics and politics not serving ‘the people’ of the United States. 

Harris did run for the 2020 Democratic-Presidency but ended her campaign due to funding. Harris however, pledged to want to defeat Trump and today, we can call her Madame Vice President of The United States. We all watched as the ‘first’ Vice President did a victory walk to the beat of Mary J. Blige. We felt that!


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