“While I am the first woman in this office,
I will not be the last.”
~ Kamala Harris
Kamala Devi Harris is the first female, Indian American and South Asian to be elected as Vice President of the United States of America. Joe Biden, the President-elect, and Kamala Harris, who fought the historic election as his running mate, will assume office on 20 January 2021, ushering in a new era of change in the U.S. and perhaps in the whole world.
Kamala Devi Harris was born in Oakland, California, on 20 October 1964 to immigrant parents. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, is an Indian from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and her father, Donald J. Harris, a Jamaican from British Jamaica. Shyamala Gopalan was a breast cancer researcher and her father is an economics professor. Kamala spent most of her early years with her sister, Maya, in Berkeley, California. Her mother had a great affinity for the civil rights movement, and for black culture. As a result of this, she did a special study on black culture. Thankfully, Kamala Harris is a beautiful amalgam of Indian and Jamaican culture.
At the age of 12, her family migrated to Montreal and Kamala attended high school there. During her school days, she was highly inspired by her teacher, Mrs Wilson, who left an indelible imprint on Kamala. As a gesture of gratitude to Mrs Wilson, Kamala wanted her to be present at her high school graduation ceremony and bless her. During her high school days Kamala also co-founded a dance group called Midnight Magic.
Kamala and her sister Maya grew up in a segregated house; due to a racist housing policy, it is often called flat lands. Whenever she visited her father’s hometown during weekends, she and her sister were even prevented from playing with other children. She recalls how much this pained her mother. “My mother knew that she was raising two black daughters; she knew that her adopted homeland would see Maya and me as black girls.”