Who is Kamala Harris?

Senator Kamala Harris speaks at an event last year. Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden has picked her as his running mate, making her the first black, Asian American woman on a presidential ticket in the US.

Photo credit: File | AFP

What you need to know:

  • The Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, finally picked his running mate on Tuesday - Senator Kamala Harris. 
  • She is seen as a representative of all Americans regardless of their skin colour.
  • She was the first black woman to be elected District Attorney in San Francisco in 2003, and first woman and black person to serve as California’s Attorney General.

After months of anticipation and speculation, Former US Vice-President and the Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, finally picked his running mate on Tuesday.

His choice of Senator Kamala Harris, is historic.

Western media has described Biden’s move as transformative for America.  She is seen as a representative of all Americans regardless of their skin colour.

She becomes the first black and South Asian American woman on a major political party’s presidential ticket.

INDIAN MUM

Ms Harris was born in California in October 1964 to immigrant parents, a Jamaican dad and an Indian mum.

Her parents divorced and she was primarily raised by her Hindu single mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a cancer researcher and civil rights activist.

Harris who is married to lawyer Douglas Emhoff, credits her mother for her determination.

Growing up with her younger sister Maya, Harris attended school in California in the 1960s, and later earned an undergraduate degree from Howard University and a Law degree from the University of California.

MAKING HISTORY

At 55, Ms Harris is no stranger to making history. She was the first black woman to be elected District Attorney in San Francisco in 2003, and first woman and black person to serve as California’s Attorney General.

In 2016, she became a Senator for the State of California. She is known for her prosecutorial style in Senate hearings.

In January last year, Ms Harris decided to join the presidential race making her the first person of Indian descent to appear on a presidential ticket.

This move was met with enthusiasm as she came out as a very strong candidate.

However, she did not hold for long as she struggled with fundraising and massive in-fighting within her campaign.

As a result, she ended her candidacy in December, before the first Democratic contest in Iowa in early 2020.

FIRST BLACK WOMAN

In March 2020, Harris endorsed the former vice-president, saying she would do "everything in my power to help elect him the next President of the United States".

Today, she is the first black woman, the first Asian American woman on a presidential ticket.

Before Biden announced Harris as his running mate on Tuesday, only two women had ever been Vice Presidential nominees for a major American party; then-Alaska Gov.

Sarah Palin in 2008 and New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.

In an acceptance tweet, Ms Harris tweeted ‘@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he's spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he'll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I'm honoured to join him as our party's nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.’’

MASSIVE WIN

Kamala Harris pick is a massive win for women given her background- proving to be a woman of many firsts.

It only shows that women can do whatever it is they want to do as long as they put their mind to it.

Harris who has immensely advocated for police reforms in the US especially lately, also serves as a beacon of hope for the black and Asian minority. 

Ms Harris, therefore, brings Biden a direct link to the party's African-American base, reflecting his team's strategy of generating excitement and high turnout in Black communities.

If in November Joe Biden beats President Trump, Harris would become the first woman in US history to serve as Vice President.