It was a particularly contentious election battle (and it may not be over yet), but over the weekend, Joe Biden was named the president-elect. As a result, his running mate, Kamala Harris, made history as the first woman, first Black person, and first Indian American, and first Asian American to be named vice president-elect. This is quite a moment! 

Daughter of Immigrants

Like many Americans, Harris’ parents came to the United States in hopes of making their dreams come true. Her mother, Syamala Gopalan, left India in the 1950s to pursue graduate studies at UC Berkeley. Her father, Donald Harris, is a professor of economics at Stanford University. 

After her parents split when she was a child, Harris and her younger sister, Maya, relied on their mother for strength and guidance while spending several years in Montreal, Canada. To prepare them for life in this world, Gopalan would tell her daughters, “You are Black girls. The world will see you as Black girls (despite their multiracial heritage) and you need to understand that you are Black girls.”

Along with Americans, though, there were joyful celebrations in Harris’ ancestral village in India. Residents set off firecrackers, played music, made traditional sweets, and bowed their heads in prayer, with many writing “Congratulations Kamala Harris. Pride of our village” in colorful powder in front of their homes.

Career and Presidential Aspirations

Born in Oakland, California, Harris graduated from Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Before being recruited to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Harris got her start at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. Then, she spent time at the City Attorney of San Francisco’s office. 

With her experience, it’s no surprise that she was elected district attorney of San Francisco in 2003. In 2010, she was elected Attorney General of California and was re-elected in 2014. Just two years later, she defeated Loretta Sanchez to become the second African American woman and the first South Asian American to serve in the United States Senate.

She set her sights higher and ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. While she did not secure the nomination, she was announced as Biden’s running mate on August 11, 2020. On November 7, 2020, the presidential race was called in favor of the Biden-Harris ticket, securing her place in American history. 

All About Family

On August 22, 2014, Harris married attorney, Doug Emhoff, in Santa Barbara. She then became stepmother to his two children, Cole and Ella, from his previous marriage. Instead of “stepmom,” the kids affectionately refer to Harris as “Momala.”

Her sister, Maya Harris, is a lawyer and MSNBC political analyst, while her brother-in-law, Tony West, is a former United States Department of Justice senior official who currently serves as general counsel for Uber. Their daughter, Harris’ niece, Meena Harris, was the former head of strategy and leadership at Uber, and is now the founder of the Phenomenal Women Action Campaign. 

We wish Vice-President-elect Harris and her husband, the future second gentleman of the United States, all the best in the future. We look forward to learning more about them over the next four years!

In case you missed it… here are a few more noteworthy stories:

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