Black History Month: Kamala Harris
Black History Month celebrates the accomplishments of Black people all around the world; the hard work, success, and determination that passionate Black leaders demonstrate is recognized and appreciated. The current vice president Kamala Harris broke barriers by becoming the first female, Black, and South Asian vice president and she, her hard work, and passion for the people are worth celebrating this month and every day after.
Kamala Devi Harris, vice president of the United States, was born on October 20, 1964 in Oakland, California. Born during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Harris grew up in an environment that promoted equality and tolerance. Her parents participated in the protests while in graduate school, which paved the way for Harris to hold the humanitarian values she does today.
After graduating from Howard University with a degree in political science and economics, Harris went on to law school at UC Hastings College of the Law.
When she graduated law school, Harris took a job with the Alameda County prosecutor’s office as an assistant district attorney, with a focus on sex crimes.
After she worked at the Alameda County office for several years, Harris took a position at the San Francisco District Attorney’s office. There, she focused on teenage prostitution, which was a prevalent San Francisco crisis at the time. She wanted law enforcement and the public to view the teens as victims instead of criminals, which was a great success.
In 2003, Harris ran her first ever political campaign, in which she vied for district attorney. She ran against her former boss and incumbent candidate, Terence Hallinan. After a runoff election, Harris was determined the winner with 56.5% of the vote. By winning this election, she became the first Black woman in California to be elected district attorney.
During her second term as district attorney, Harris launched a campaign for attorney general of California. According to Politico, the race was tight, but after all ballots were counted, Harris was declared the winner by 0.8%.
Some believe that Harris’s greatest accomplishment during her time as attorney general was the creation of Open Justice. This public database ensured that criminal justice data was available to the public by presenting information on deaths and injuries of those in police custody.
In 2016, Harris won her seat in the U.S Senate, defeating veteran senator Loretta Sanchez. Politico also says that she received more than 60% of the votes, winning all but four California counties.
In January 2019, Harris announced that she would be running for President of the United States; however, after short funds and low polling numbers in December of that year, Harris dropped out of the race.
In August of 2020, Joe Biden announced that he had picked Harris as his running mate, making her the first Black and first Asian American to run for vice president. This also made her only the third woman in US history to be chosen for vice president, after Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin.
On November 7, 2020, Biden and Harris were announced the victors of the 2020 Presidential Election. Harris was sworn in for a monumental inauguration on January 20.
Honoring Vice President Kamala Harris this Black History Month is monumental to me because I feel like she is representative of our country at this time. I also believe she is the perfect embodiment of what Black History Month represents, especially this year. It’s so refreshing seeing a female person of color in such an honorable position. I’m proud that America elected a Black, Asian American woman into such a high position, and this gives me hope that someday in my lifetime I will see a female president of color.
Kamala stands for fairness, unity, humanity, and governing with love, which is necessary when in such a position of power. She has a warm energy about her and always has a genuine smile on her face and a contagious laugh to top it off.
An admirable quote by Harris is, “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.'” I love this quote because her mother taught her from a young age how she is capable of so much. Harris took that advice and became the first female vice president, shattering the glass ceiling for other girls.