Who exactly is Senator Kamala Harris, who was chosen by Vice President Joe Biden to be his running mate in the 2020 presidential elections?
Perhaps remembered best for her pugnacious debate style in the primary debates of last year, she worked as a prosecutor for years. She has served as the junior United States Senator from California since 2017.
Born on October 20, 1964 and growing up in Oakland California, the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant father and an Indian immigrant mother, her story has an undeniable interest and character that appeals to many in today’s multiracial America.
Regarded for several years now as a rising personality in the Democratic firmament, she may have hinted strongly that she had Presidential ambitions when she began referring to Shirley Chisholm of Texas, who was the first black woman to seek the Presidential nomination from a major party, in her speeches.
Showing a more pragmatic side than she is known for when interviewed by the New York Times last summer, Harris said policy has to be relevant,” Senator Harris stated “That’s my guiding principle: ‘Is it relevant?’ Not, ‘Is it a beautiful sonnet?’”
The third woman to have been chosen as a vice-presidential running mate, running under a former vice president who served for many decades in the Senate, she fulfills many of the wishes that some voters may have for their dream Democratic ticket.
Just like Geraldine Ferraro, who was chosen by Democratic hopeful Walter Mondale, and Sarah Palin, who ran under a ticket headed by Republican Senator John McCain, Harris is from a much younger demographic.
Having representation from several different ethnic demographics is seen as desirable in many ways in modern American politics. But the Senator from California is certainly not the first to have been nominated for this prestigious position.
In what was perhaps the boldest move up until that time in terms of female equality, Senator Mondale chose Ferraro, who was the first Italian-American of either gender to have been chosen to be on a presidential ticket of a major party. It was hoped at the time that her inclusion would win over urban and female voters.
American women who watched the Democratic Convention in 1980 will never forget the electricity in the building when a woman walked across that stage for the first time to accept the nomination for vice-president.
However, if Biden is elected this will be by far the most prominent position a black American woman has ever held in this country, not to mention one who is a child of Indian-American and Jamaican immigrants.