Still Think It Is Absurd? Kamala Harris Does Not Think So


Vice President Harris announces her candidacy for Vice President in Wilmington, Delaware (Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons)

At last! A role model for young girls and the superwoman of today’s generation, Kamala Harris has made history. There is no backtracking from where the United States has arrived to. This is only the beginning for more accomplishments of women throughout the White House. The year 2021 has introduced a new world to politics where there are no limitations. Nothing is an absurdity. 


Proudly and ensuring, voices unite together to exclaim, “Kamala Harris is the first female vice president of the United States!”


On November 7, 2020, Kamala Harris was announced Vice President-elect. On January 20, 2021, Harris was officially sworn in as vice president. She is now beside President Biden in a four-year journey after a battling trial. Time speaking is living history, and Harris has a history of her own. Everyone has to start somewhere to get to a certain point, and that includes superheroes like Kamala Harris who had to begin somewhere to get to the top. Her story was not written on its own. 


Therefore, the big question is: 


What is the story of Kamala Harris?


According to The White House, Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California on October 20, 1964. Just a few years later her sister, Maya Harris was born on January 30, 1967. The existence of Kamala and Maya Harris would not have been possible without their mother, Shyamala Gopalan from Chennai, India and father, Donald Harris from Brown’s Town, Jamaica. Kamala and Maya Harris spent most of their time with their mother, a breast cancer scientist who received her doctorate the same year Kamala Harris was born, after Gopalan and Donald Harris had a divorce and difficult custody battle. Although divorced, the parents of Vice President Harris always enforced upon her a strong sense of justice. Her parents, who were also activists, would take Harris to civil rights demonstrations and introduced role models that would inspire her to become a prosecutor.


“My mother would look at me and she’d say, ‘Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.’”


According to The Washington Post, when Kamala and Maya Harris would spend time with their father, a Jamaican economics professor at Stanford, it would normally be during the summer and weekends. On one of those summer evenings in 1978, Donald Harris took his two daughters to the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California to their first concert. What Kamala and Maya Harris did not expect was to be in the same room as Bob Marley and the Wailers. Now, who knows if Bob Marley would have expected to be in the same room as the first female vice president? That is a mystery question with an unknown response. 


However, still according to The Washington Post, Kamala Harris, who was 13 at the time, was mesmerized when seeing Bob Marley and the Wailers perform their reggae music. 


Vice President Harris, in an email to The Washington Post, said, “We sat up top in the back of the theater and, as I watched the performance, I was in complete awe. To this day, I know the lyrics to nearly every Bob Marley song.” 


The Harrises’ attendance at the Bob Marley concert had a more valuable reason. Just like Marley, the Harrises were from a parish on the north coast of the island named St. Ann. Donald Harris was determined to bring pride to his daughters over their Jamaican roots, and he conquered that. 


When in Brown’s Town, Kamala and Maya Harris would visit the markets where her great-grandmother had the family store and her great-grandfather is buried in the graveyard of Anglican Church. The Harris sisters would attend get-togethers in the hills, and their relatives cooked Jamaican dishes like rice and peas, jerk chicken, beef patties, etc. An uncle would cook a big pot of curry goat in the outdoors. 


Donald Harris did not want his daughters to forget where they came from. Vice President Harris wrote, “My father, like so many Jamaicans, has immense pride in our Jamaican heritage and instilled that same pride in my sister and me. We love Jamaica. He taught us the history of where we’re from, the struggles and beauty of the Jamaican people, and the richness of the culture.” 


In 1971, Kamala Harris was only seven years old when her parents divorced. The relationship between her parents was so rocky that Kamala Harris wrote in her memoir that she had a worry of her mother not attending her high school graduation if her father was present. At the end, both of her parents attended. 


Kamala Harris wrote in her book, “It was hard on both of them. I think, for my mother, the divorce represented a kind of failure she had never considered.”


Still according to The Washington Post, Shyamala Gopalan would take her daughters to her hometown Chennai and dress them in Indian jewelry. Gopalan introduced her daughters to Aretha Franklin and sent them to a Black church and preschool with Harriet Tubman posters over the walls because Gopalan figured that society would identify her daughters as Black Americans. 


According to The Undefeated, after Vice President Harris graduated high school, she attended Howard University. Harris said that it was at Howard University where she gained enough courage to run her first race for elected office, and Howard University is also the place where Harris announced her run for president. When Harris was a student, she was involved in activism and student government. 


In her book The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, Harris wrote, “When it came to college, I wanted to get in on the right foot. And what better place to do that, I thought, than at Thurgood Marshall’s alma mater?”


Harris went back to California and attended the University of California, Hastings College of Law after graduating from Howard University. Harris began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. Harris then focused on her role as a managing attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and later was chief of the Division on Children and Families for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. 


According to The White House, Harris was elected District Attorney of San Francisco in 2003. In 2010, Harris was elected California’s Attorney General and ran the largest state justice department in the United States. Harris was the first to establish the state’s Bureau of Children’s Justice and instituted various reforms that gave a better reassurance of transparency and accountability in the criminal justice system. 


When Vice President Harris was attorney general, she earned a $20 billion settlement for Californians that lost their homes due to foreclosure. Harris also earned a $1.1 billion settlement for students and veterans that were victims of a for-profit education company. In court, Harris made it her will to defend the Affordable Care Act, imposed environmental law, and was also a national leader in the movement for equal marriage. 


And for her own marriage, Vice President Harris married Doug Emhoff  in 2014, according to The New York Times.  From that marriage, Harris has two step-children named Ella and Cole Emhoff. Although Harris did not have children of her own, she says that being called “Momala” by Ella and Cole is the role that “that means the most.”


According to The White House, Vice President Harris was sworn into the United States Senate in 2017.  When she was a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Harris was determined to have better protections for DREAMers and better conditions at immigrant detention facilities. When on the Senate Committee on Intelligence, Harris worked with members of both parties to protect the American people from foreign threats and created bipartisan legislation to secure American elections. She went to Iraq, Jordan, and Afghanistan to have a meeting with servicemembers. Harris also served on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and when she was serving, she took part in two hearings for two Supreme Court nominees. 


When Harris was Senator, she advocated legislation to reform cash bail, fight hunger, provide rent relief, better maternal health care, and, as a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, address the climate crisis. In 2018, her bipartisan anti-lynching bill passed the Senate, and her legislation to maintain Historic Black Colleges and Universities was signed into law. 


On August 11, 2020, Harris accepted President Biden’s offer to become his companion for the next four years in office. Harris is the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected Vice President of the United States. Despite being the first, Harris is determined to not be the last.


Harris said, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”


Harris and many women are determined to keep moving forward. The world has awakened to many possibilities that are unstoppable. Empowerment lingers through the White House because possibilities for women have reached so far. From women not having the right to vote to having a female vice president is a very fantastic feeling!


So, still think it is absurd for a woman to be vice president? Kamala Harris does not think so.