The first Black woman to be Vice President of the United States


Who is Kamala Harris: Biography

Born October 20, 1964 in Oakland, California, U.S., Harris is an American politician who was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat in 2016 and began her first term representing California in that body the following year.

On Aug. 11, 2020, Biden announced Harris as his running mate and he said ""I know a thing or two about being vice president. More than anything, I know it can't be a political decision. It has to be a governing decision. If the people of this nation entrust me and Kamala with the office of president and vice president for the next four years, we're going to inherit a nation in crisis, a nation divided, and a world in disarray. We won't have a minute to waste. That's what led me to Kamala Harris."

Then Kamala Harris made history on Nov. 7, 2020 as the first Black woman elected as vice president of the United States, shattering barriers that have kept men — almost all of them white — entrenched at the highest levels of American politics for more than two centuries.

Kamala Harris' Family

Her father, Donald Harris, from Jamaican, taught at Stanford University; and her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, the daughter of an Indian diplomat, was a cancer researcher. The two met as graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley. But her parents divorced when she was 7 and her mother was granted full custody of Kamala and her sister Maya. Thus, she also grew up in Oakland and Berkeley attending predominantly Black churches. Her downstairs neighbor, Regina Shelton, often took Kamala and her sister Maya to Oakland's 23rd Avenue Church of God in Oakland. Harris now considers herself a Black Baptist.

Her younger sister, Maya, later became a public policy advocate. After studying political science and economics (B.A., 1986) at Howard University, Kamala earned a law degree (1989) from Hastings College.

Kamala Harris married to a Jewish man

The first Black woman to be Vice President of the United States
Photo: The New Idian Express

Harris met her husband, Los Angeles lawyer Douglas Emhoff, on a blind date in San Francisco. Not a believer in long engagements, Harris and Emhoff held their ceremony in 2014 around four months after their engagement at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.. At their wedding, the couple smashed a glass to honor Emhoff’s upbringing (a traditional Jewish wedding custom).

It was Harris’ first marriage and his second.. Emhoff married his first wife, Kerstin, who went on to co-found the production company Prettybird. Though they divorced 16 years later, they remain close—she even volunteered to help with Harris's presidential bid.

Together, Emhoff and Kerstin have two children, Cole and Ella (named for John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald.) Cole is a graduate of Colorado College and Ella studies Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design.

Harris' Career

The first Black woman to be Vice President of the United States
Photo: Business Insider

A graduate of Howard University and the University of California (1986-1989), Hastings College of Law, the Oakland native started her career as a prosecutor in Alameda County and went on to work for the San Francisco city attorney's office, specializing in child sexual assault cases.

She subsequently worked as a deputy district attorney (1990–1998) in Oakland, earning a reputation for toughness as she prosecuted cases of gang violence, drug trafficking, and sexual abuse. Harris rose through the ranks, becoming district attorney in 2004. In 2010 she was narrowly elected attorney general of California—winning by a margin of less than 1 percent—thus becoming the first female and the first African American to hold the post. After taking office the following year, she demonstrated political independence, rejecting, for example, pressure from the administration of Pres.

In 2012 Harris delivered a memorable address at the Democratic National Convention, raising her national profile. Two years later she married attorney Douglas Emhoff. Widely considered a rising star within the party, she was recruited to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer, who was retiring. In early 2015 Harris declared her candidacy, and on the campaign trail she called for immigration and criminal-justice reforms, increases to the minimum wage, and protection of women’s reproductive rights. She easily won the 2016 election.

In January 2017, Harris began serving on both the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Judiciary Committee. She became known for her prosecutorial style of questioning witnesses during hearings, which drew criticism—and occasional interruptions—from Republican senators.

In August 2020, Joe Biden has named Kamala Harris as his running mate, making the California senator the first Black and South Asian American woman to run on a major political party's presidential ticket.

Whatever happens next, Harris’s vice-presidency will make history. She will be the first black American and the first Asian American to hold the country’s second highest office. It is hard to overstate how powerful that is after four years of Trump.

There is few vice presidential candidates who have had as much exposure to the world’s religions as Kamala Harris, the 55-year-old senator from California who who just became vice-president elect. She was raised on Hinduism and Christianity. Moreover, her name, Kamala, means “lotus” in Sanskrit, and is another name for the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. She visited India multiple times as a girl and got to know her relatives there.
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