Kamala Harris: A Story of Many Firsts

  • Contributed by : Fida Ancy
  • Status : Student
  • Class : 10
  • Age : 15
  • Mode : Medium
  • Article type : Essay
  • Target Age Group : 11-15 Years

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Kamala Harris made history when she was elected as the first South-Asian, African American and woman Vice-President. She, along with the President-elect Joe Biden, was elected into office in the 2020 Presidential Elections.

But then, one can’t help but wonder; how did a young woman soar to such heights to become the highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history? What was her story?

Kamala Devi Harris was born on 20 October 1964, in Oakland, California, to Jamaican born father Donald J. Harris, and Indian born cancer biologist Shyamala Gopalan. She grew up on Bancroft Way in West Berkeley, California, with her mother and younger sister, Maya Harris.

However, her parents divorced when she was seven. When she was twelve, Kamala Harris and her sister moved with their mother to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where their mother had just accepted a new job offer. After high school, she went to Howard University in Washington, D.C. and soon after graduation, she attended law school at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

In 1990, Harris was hired as a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California. Eventually, she became the chief of the Career Criminal Division and later quit because of a battle over Proposition 21. Harris took a new job at San Francisco City Hall and ran the Family and Children's Services Division representing child abuse and neglect cases.

Harris prepared to run for District Attorney of San Francisco in 2002. Harris won with 56 per cent of the vote and became the first person of colour elected as district attorney of San Francisco.

In November 2011, she became the first woman and the first African American,  to hold the office of Attorney General in California.

She married Doug Emhoff, a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles, in 2014 at a small private ceremony. She is also the stepmother to her husbands’ two children from his previous marriage.

Throughout her political career, Harris has preached for the rights of same sex marriage, the abolishment of death penalties, and the rights of African Americans. She created Open Justice, an online platform to make criminal justice data available to the public when she was attorney general. The database helped improve police accountability by collecting information on the number of deaths and injuries of those in police custody.

Kamala Harris is seen as a beacon for all people of colour and women around the world. She truly blazed a trail for future generations to follow and will be remembered in history.

Image Courtesy: www.BBC.com



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