California Senator Kamala Harris has become a world wide sensation after Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden selected her as his running mate for the 2020 election.
This announcement sent a wave of excitement coursing through the small Indian American community of about 4 million people. There was a sense, cutting across party lines, that Harris’s name on the presidential ticket was a badge of recognition for the entire community.
Harris, who was born in Oakland, California, whose father a Jamaican and mother a Tamilian, is the first Black and South Asian American woman chosen for national office by a major political party.
She is the daughter of Indian mother from Chennai, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a cancer researcher who passed away in 2009, and Jamaican father, Donald Harris, who teaches at Stanford University.
Her maternal grandfather, P.V.Gopalan was an Indian civil servant on assignment in an era of postcolonial ferment in 1930s. The Indian government had dispatched P.V. Gopalan to help Zambia manage an influx of refugees from Zimbabwe – which had just declared independence from Britain.
“My grandfather P.V.Gopalan was really one of my favorite people in my world,” Harris, California’s junior U.S. senator, said in a recent interview.
She grew up in Oakland. And after earning an undergraduate degree from Howard University and a law degree from the University of California, Hastings, she started a career in law in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. She became the district attorney of San Francisco in 2003.
Harris was sworn in as a United States Senator from California in 2017, only the second African-American woman and first South Asian-American senator in history. As a senator, she has supported healthcare reform, federal descheduling of cannabis, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the DREAM Act, a ban on assault weapons, and progressive tax reform. She gained a national profile for her pointed questioning of Trump administration officials during Senate hearings.
Harris ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and attracted national attention before ending her campaign on December 3, 2019.
An African American voter in Michigan commented on her while she was campaiging for president “She’s fake. She’s phony. She’s not one of us. She built a political career by over-prosecuting Black kids,” Brandi Neal, an employee at Detroit City Hall said.
That sentiment may explain why Senator Harris’ presidential campaign was a short ride.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday called Kamala Harris the “most horrible” member of the US Senate and said he was “surprised” Joe Biden had picked her as his vice presidential candidate.
Trump told reporters at the White House that Harris did not impress him when she was vying for the Democratic nomination in primaries eventually won by Biden.
Meanwhile Kamala Harris pick for VP is being hailed as ‘A Moment Of Pride’ In India. Many Indians are tweeting support for Kamala Harris, celebrating their connection to the new presumptive Democratic nominee for vice president, whose mother was from India.
“This is a historical, transformational, and proud moment for… all women of colour, all Black women, and all South Asian women,” Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra tweeted. “Pride for India!!” says another.