Senator Kamala Harris, running mate to President-elect Joe Biden, has become the first female vice president-elect in the United States.
Harris’ victory represents many firsts to come to the White House.
With an Indian and Jamaican ancestry, she will be the first woman and first person to identify as Black and as South Asian-American in the role of vice president.
Also being a graduate of Howard University, she will be the first vice president to have graduated from a historically Black college and be a member of a Black sorority.
Harris, a senator from California, initially ran for president, but withdrew for lack of money.
She then cast her support for Joe Biden, who later picked her as running mate.
Harris made her mark in politics in California, where she served as San Francisco district attorney before going on to become attorney general of the state, the first African-American to serve in that role.
At 56, Harris who is set to become the vice president, positions herself to be a strong contender for the presidency in future elections, if she chooses to run again.
Kamala Harris was born on October 20, 1964, to Shyamala, who emigrated from India to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where she met Donald, Harris’ Jamaican-born father.
In 2016, Kamala Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, representing California in the body, being also the first Indian American to serve as a U.S. senator as well as the second African American woman.
Harris had previously served as the state’s attorney general (2011–17) before she assumed office in the United States’ senate.
Shyamala carved out a career as a renowned breast-cancer researcher, while Donald became a Stanford University economics professor. Her mother also ensured that Harris and her younger sister, Maya, maintained ties to their Indian heritage by raising them with Hindu beliefs and taking them to her home country every couple of years.
Harris’ parents divorced when she was seven years old, and at age 12 she moved with her mother and sister to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She learned to speak some French during her time in Quebec and demonstrated her burgeoning political instincts by organizing a protest against a building owner who wouldn’t allow neighborhood kids to play on the lawn.
Harris attended Westmount High School in Quebec, where she founded a dance troupe with a friend. Returning to the States to enter Howard University in Washington, D.C., she was elected to the liberal arts student council and joined the debate team, en route to a B.A. in political science and economics. Harris then enrolled at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, earning her J.D. in 1989.
After earning admittance to the State Bar of California in 1990, Harris began her career as a deputy district attorney in Alameda County. She became managing attorney of the Career Criminal Unit in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office in 1998, and in 2000 she was appointed chief of its Community and Neighborhood Division, during which time she established the state’s first Bureau of Children’s Justice.
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