Kamala Harris: The inspiring story of many firsts

Updated: 13 August, 2020 09:25 IST | Agencies |

The California senator, 55, becomes just the third woman to be selected as the V-P on a major party ticket

Kamala Harris. Pic/AP
Kamala Harris. Pic/AP

Senator Kamala Devi Harris scripted history when she became the first Black woman to be appointed as running mate by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the November presidential polls.

The California senator, 55, becomes just the third woman to be selected as the V-P on a major party ticket. Then-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 and New York Representative Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 were the other two. A fierce critic-turned ally of her former rival Biden, Harris had her own presidential dreams, which she suspended by the end of 2019, saying she lacked the financial resources to continue her campaign. She is one of only three Asian Americans in the Senate and she's the first Indian-American ever to serve in the chamber.

Harris is known for many firsts. She has been a county district attorney; the district attorney for San Francisco — the first woman and first African-American and Indian-origin to be elected to the position. She would have several firsts in her role as vice president also: the first woman, the first African-American woman, the first Indian-American and the first Asian-American. She was born to two immigrant parents: a father, Donald Harris, from Jamaica, and mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher and civil rights activist, from Chennai, India. She, however, defines herself simply as 'American'.

Women say they will fight 'ugly' attacks on Harris

Before Joe Biden named Kamala Harris his running mate, women's groups were readying a campaign of their own: shutting down sexist coverage and disinformation about a V-P nominee they say is headed for months of false smears and "brutal" attacks from haters. The groups put the media on notice that they will call out bias — one campaign is dubbed "We Have Her Back" — and established a "war room" to refute sexist or false attacks.

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First Published: 13 August, 2020 07:31 IST

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