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Living Legend: Kamala Harris makes history as America’s First Black & Female Vice President
By Betti Halsell, Contributing Writer
Published November 26, 2020

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Madam Vice-President Kamala Harris is a living legend, her election marked a new day during a colossal shift in social awareness. As the first Black and South Asian woman to be listed on a major political ballot and the first woman to hold a seat as vice president, she has created a new wave of thought and possibility. It will continue to grow for women, as an increase in young girls will strive to be on that level of power. Delivering her candidacy on the day Martin Luther King Jr. declared a universal dream, more diversity will be a new normal as the whole world is changing into that vision.

On the night acknowledging her acceptance, Madam Vice-President Harris was a vision for a new chapter, the first sparkle bringing in the dream Martin Luther King Jr. shared at the Lincoln Memorial. As Harris was announced as the new Vice President of the United States, she stood with power and purpose in an ivory suit. Her face beaming with the knowledge of breaking down what seemed to be impossible. She is the spirit of determination in physical form.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris arrives to speak Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Kamala Devi Harris was born on October 20, in Oakland California to Donald Harris and Shyamala Gopalan. Shyamala as a young woman transitioned her life from India to America when she was 19. Determined to learn, Kamala’s mother became a scholar at Berkley, choosing a career path in health as a Breast Cancer researcher.

Donald Harris also found his strengths in knowledge; he is a noted economist and faculty-alumni at Stanford University. One can assume within their household, Kamala and her younger sister Maya were taught to use their minds for strategy and research.

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Harris described her youth and looking up to the women that was in her life, “ My mother instilled in my sister, Maya, and me the values that would chart the course of our lives.” Harris continued, “She raised us to be proud, strong Black women. And she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage. She taught us to put family first—the family you’re born into and the family you choose.”

Harris was submerged in a diverse community, having memories of the Baptist choir singing and protests of some of the first Civil Rights movements marched on.  Harris stated within her Democratic Convention speech, “In the streets of Oakland and Berkeley, I got a stroller’s-eye view of people getting into what the great John Lewis called “good trouble.”

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks during the New Hampshire state Democratic Party convention, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

The vice president reflected on her adolescent memories, “When I was 5, my parents split and my mother raised us mostly on her own. Like so many mothers, she worked around the clock to make it work—packing lunches before we woke up— and paying bills after we went to bed. Helping us with homework at the kitchen table—and shuttling us to church for choir practice.”

Harris acknowledge her roots and the family that fully nourished her during her Democratic Convention Speech, “Family, is my husband Doug, who I met on a blind date set up by my best friend. Family is our beautiful children, Cole and Ella…”

Vice-President Harris painted a deeper picture, “Family is my best friend, my nieces and my godchildren. Family is my uncles, my aunts—my chitthis. Family is Mrs. Shelton—my second mother who lived two doors down and helped raise me. Family is my beloved Alpha Kappa Alpha…our Divine 9…and my HBCU brothers and sisters. Family is the friends I turned to when my mother—the most important person in my life—passed away from cancer.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris waves as she takes the stage before speaking, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

The Recently elected vice president attended one of the leading historical Black Colleges, at Howard University she graduated with her B.A. in 1986, She moved on to working on her Juris Doctor degree and received it from Hastings College.  Kamala stayed sharp during her academia journey, she was involved in the debate program and she was a part of student council at Howard.

Finding herself aligned with seeking justice, in 1990 Madam Vice President Harris was admitted to the state bar. Eight years later she was in a leadership role as the managing attorney of the Career and Criminal Unit in San Francisco.

Her journey reflects her relationship with doing what is right and never backing down from a fight. From 2004 to 2011 Vice- President Harris impacted many communities as an Attorney General of San Francisco, later on she elevated on to Attorney General of California. Wherever Harris put her focus, the position flourished and prepared her for greater responsibility.

In this Nov. 8, 2019, file photo, then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., reacts as she speaks at a town hall event at the Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas. Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden has chosen Harris as his running mate. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

By 2017 Harris held the seat as U.S. Senator, representing the golden state. Her demeanor has been described as “quiet and exquisite power,” and she has broken many glass ceilings along her climb to Vice President. Knocking down strong holds of narrow perspectives and bringing change wherever she was working, Harris was the first Black woman to be Deputy Attorney in San Francisco and the first South Asian person in the U.S. Senate position.

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Standing at the podium as the first Black Vice President, Harris time traveled and described her career leading up to this point,  but before her role as vice president was confirmed she made it clear at the Democratic convention, “At every step of the way, I’ve been guided by the words I spoke from the first time I stood in a courtroom: Kamala Harris, For the People.”

Kamala Harris (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Vice President Harris elaborated, “I’ve fought for children, and survivors of sexual assault. I’ve fought against transnational gangs. I took on the biggest banks and helped take down one of the biggest for-profit colleges. I know a predator when I see one.”

Harris has left her imprint in every seat she has held any type of authority, she started programs such as the initiative that gives first-time drug offenders the chance to earn a high school diploma and find employment. She has pushed a new standard forward, not waiting for permission to make change. During her acceptance as the first woman to be vice president, Harris stood smiling looking out into a future that is now much more inclusive and symbolic to this nation that everyone is welcome to have their voice heard.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, speaks during the New Hampshire state Democratic Party convention, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Manchester, NH. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Categories: National | News | Political
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