Most Indians even today are obsessed with all things American. That includes a generation of Indians who had migrated to western shores. Kamala Harris, America’s 1st woman Vice President and the so-called ‘Indian origin daughter’ was celebrated and cheered in Chennai. Wonder if Kamala Harris, who proudly calls herself an African-American, holds a piece of India so dearly in her heart, a country where she was neither born nor belonged. Here is the story of a strong all-American woman whom Indians revere for her so-called Indian roots more than her accomplishments. Kamala Harris, the 49th American Vice President, serves as the deputy of President Joe Biden, the 46th President of America. She is the first part-Indian woman and first Black Vice President who assumed office on 20 January 2021.
Kamala was born in Oakland, California, in 1964. Her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris from Chennai was a breast cancer researcher, and her father Donald Harris, a Jamaican-American professor of economics. She has a younger sister named Maya. While still young, her parents would carry her in a stroller to attend civil rights marches. In 1972, her parents divorced.
She attended the Thousand Oaks Elementary School in Berkeley. At 12, Kamala and her sister, Maya, moved with their mother to Montreal. Gopalan Harris began to teach at McGill University while pursuing a research position at the Jewish General Hospital. The civil rights marches may have impacted Kamala because by the age of 13 years, she and her younger sister, Maya, were already leading a demonstration in front of their apartment building to protest against banning children from playing on the lawn.
An interest in Law
In 1986 Kamala Harris graduated from Howard University with a B.A. In 1989, she passed the bar from the Hastings College of the Law, California. The same year Kamala began to practice at the Office of the Prosecutor at the Alameda County in Oakland. She worked there as an assistant district attorney handling sex crimes.
From 1990 to 1998, she served as the Deputy district attorney, Alameda County, California. But in 1994, when Kamala began dating Willie Brown, a California politician and speaker of the state assembly who was 30 years older than her, it catapulted her career. With his assistance, not only did she get appointed to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the Medical Assistance Commission but helped her earn an additional USD 80,000 a year on top of her salary as a prosecutor. This union lasted only just over a year when Harris decided to move out of the relationship.
In 2003, Kamala Harris won the elections to became the first Black woman district attorney of California. She got elected in a runoff with 56.5 % of the vote.
It was the beginning of her victorious entry into politics.
The Political Journey
2004-2010: For six long years, Kamala Harris serves as the first Indian and Black American woman District Attorney in California.
2010: Kamala Harris is elected attorney general of California, becoming the first woman and the first Indian and Black American to hold the post.
2012: Harris delivers a speech at the Democratic National Convention, raising her profile.
2016: Kamala Harris is elected to the US Senate from California after defeating Loretta Sanchez. She replaces retiring Senator Barbara Boxer.
2019: On January 21, 2019, Harris launches her presidential run announcing it on Good Morning America.
2019: On the 3rd of December, citing lack of funds, Harris shutters her presidential campaign.
2020: August 11, Joe Biden announces Kamala Harris as his running mate on the presidential ticket.
2020: November 7, Kamala Harris is elected vice president of the United States on the Joe Biden ticket. She delivers a rousing victory speech, taking the stage before President-elect Joe Biden.
2021: Kamala Harris takes her oath as American Vice President on January 20, 2021. She is the first woman of color, the first Indian and Black American to have ever held this position.
(Information credits Kalinga TV)
Kamal Harris- her views and stand on few issues
Coronavirus: Harris publicly condemned President Donald Trump about how lightly he had handled the COVID-19 pandemic. During her campaign trail, she urged leaders to “listen to the scientists and the experts” on the right way to proceed. She even asked the American public to continue to maintain a “national standard” for wearing masks.
Race and police rights: As a bi-racial and multi-ethnic leader, Kamala Harris has called for safety in communities of color by creating accountability in police rights. While campaigning, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden proposed an end to no-knock warrants, chokeholds, and carotid hold. They spoke of a force standard and a database to track cops who use excessive force and break the rules.
Gun Control: As per The New York Times, Kamala Harris, in a Town Hall meeting in 2020, said, “We need reasonable gun safety laws in this country, starting with universal background checks and a renewal of the assault weapon ban, but they have failed to have the courage to act”.
Health care: Harris had proposed Medicare for All, especially as she had watched her mother suffer cancer and cope with its expenses. Kamala Harris had suggested Medicare be more robust with better coverage. She talked about reducing its costs for the insured and including individuals and families excluded earlier. The to-be-Vice President candidate then had even stated the need to have private players in Medicare. But sadly, she retracted her thoughts, going with a different government plan laid out by Joe Biden.
Planned Parenthood: Harris has been vocal about reproductive rights and the right to abortion. Harris said during one of her speeches on September 2020 in North Carolina, “There is no other issue that so disrespects and dishonors the work of Justice Ginsburg’s life, then undoing the seminal decision in the court’s history that made it clear — a woman has a right to make decisions about her own body.”
Kamala Harris is the author of two non-fiction books and one book for children. They are: –
1. Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor’s Plan to Make Us Safer. 2009.
2. The Truths We Hold: An American Journey. 2019
3. Superheroes Are Everywhere. 2019.
Awards and Honors
- Received the Thurgood Marshall Award by National Black Prosecutors Association
- Listed among the 20 Most Powerful Women in America by Newsweek.
- New York Times called her the tough fighter with the potential to become president of the United States.
- Time named Harris as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
- Conferred Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) by the University of Southern California.
- Awarded the Bipartisan Justice Award by the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center.
- Conferred Doctor of Humane Letters by Howard University.
- Named Time Person of the Year for 2020 with Joe Biden.
In 2014, she married Douglas Emhoff, a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles. Douglas has become the first Second Gentleman, the first male spouse of a vice president of America. Kamala has two stepchildren Cole and Ella Emhoff. They lovingly call Harris “Momala.”
In 2004, when asked about her name Kamala by the Los Angeles Times, she said, “A culture that worships goddesses produces strong women.” Simply because Kamala meaning lotus, is also a name for the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi.
PM Modi of India thanks Biden and Kamala Harris
Today April 27, 2021, India thanks Biden and Kamala Harris for extending a helping hand to supply vaccines, oxygen, and other life-saving assistance amid the surge of COVID-19 cases in India. Kamala Harris goddess or no goddess, only time will tell but today’s gesture sure makes us worship her.