Who is Kamala Harris?

By Nina Steele 

Kamala Harris3 years ago, I wrote an article entitled: Will Kamala Harris become the first US female President? It seemed like a long shot at the time. After all, not many people outside political circles in the US had heard of her, and she had just been elected as a senator for California. To me however, she exuded the same kind of star quality that got Obama elected in 2008. There was something about her background story that was telling me that she was destined for something far bigger.

Naturally, that she is soon to become Vice President does not surprise me at all. Also, it’s not a coincidence that her rise is happening at a time when race has become once again, a major talking point in the US.

So who is Kamala Harris? She was born on October 20, 1964. Her father is black and her mother Indian. Both her parents were immigrants. Her father came to the US from Jamaica in 1961 and her mother from India in 1958. Her parents divorced when she was 7. She has a younger sister named Maya, a lawyer. She was the District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 until 2011. She became Attorney General of California in 2011 up until 2017. She has been a senator for California since 2017. She and her husband Douglas Emhoff, also a lawyer, have been married since 2014. She is stepmother to her husband’s two children from his first marriage. She has no biological children of her own.

As is expected, the fact that she is a woman of colour, at a time when race has become such a hot topic once again, is not lost on most people. Joe Biden deserves credit for choosing her as his VP, even though some people may argue that her choice was predictable considering the current climate.

A lot is expected of them as far as racial justice is concerned. Joe Biden understands this, which is why he emphasised that racial justice and rooting out systemic racism are among his top priorities, in his address to the nation, on the night the networks declared him the winner of the presidential race. Black Americans played a decisive role in getting him elected. They expect him and Kamala to make true of their promise to bring about long awaited reforms to the justice system, including putting an end to police brutality, which has been heavily felt by the black community.

This election has shown that Democrats can no longer take minority voters for granted. They expect change and won’t hesitate to vote for the other side if those changes fail to materialise. That around 20% of black men voted for Donald Trump, in spite of all his racist rhetorics, should be a cause for concern. With America so divided, both parties understand that they have to fight for every vote. If as is expected, Kamala Harris decides to run for President after Joe Biden’s tenure ends, the policies that she helps bring about as Vice President, will determine whether or not she succeeds.

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