Kamala Devi Harris (1964- ) [Children’s Edition]

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Who are they:

On November 3, 2020, Kamala Devi Harris was elected Vice-President of the United States. She is the first Black woman and first woman of South Asian ancestry to hold this position.

Why are they important to know about:

Kamala Harris is the first woman to become Vice-President of the U.S. but even before this, she had been shattering ceilings by become the first Black woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate from California and the first Black woman and first person of South Asian descent to serve as Attorney General of any state.

Details of the life of the person:

Kamala Devi Harris was born in Oakland, California on October 20, 1964 to Donald J. Harris, a Stanford University economics professor from Jamaica and Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a breast cancer specialist from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. She earned a B.A. degree from Howard University in Washington D.C. in 1986. In 1989 Harris received a J.D. degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, California.

In 1998 she entered the office of the San Francisco district attorney and became managing attorney of the Career Criminal Unit. She also headed the Division on Children and Families. Harris joined the San Francisco city attorney’s office in 2000 as chief of the Community and Neighborhood Division. In 2003 she was elected district attorney of the city and county of San Francisco, making her its first female African American and Indian American district attorney. During her tenure, Harris created the Environmental Justice Unit and prosecuted several individuals and industries for pollution.

In 2010 the Democratic Party of California nominated Harris for California attorney general. She received the endorsements of many groups, including Black Women Organized for Political Action, the Mexican American Bar Association, South Asians for Opportunity, and the National Women’s Political Caucus. She became the first female African American and Indian American attorney general of California.

In 2017 Harris became the second African American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. On January 20, 2021, Harris made history again by becoming the first woman to be sworn in as vice president of the U.S. under President Joe Biden.

Their lasting impact:
Vice-President Kamala Harris has spent her career in politics fighting for positive changes all around the United States. The fact that she became the first woman V.P. of the U.S. is already inspiring and will continue to inspire many young girls for generations to come.

What we learned from them:
Positive changes through politics can make a real difference in this country. V.P. Kamala Harris shows us that even when you are breaking ground as “the first” or “the only” staying committed to what is right for the community at large is what should always guide your way.

For more information, please go to BlackPast.org