Rolling out her historic candidacy as America’s first Indian American African vice presidential candidate, Kamala Harris has revealed that her immigrant parents shaped her politics.
“My mother and father, they came from opposite sides of the world to arrive in America, one from India and the other from Jamaica, in search of a world class education,” Harris said.
Making her first joint appearance with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, at a high school in Delaware, Wednesday, she recalled her Tamil Indian mother’s constant refrain to do something. “So I did something.”
“But what brought them together was the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s,” recalled the daughter of cancer researcher Shyamala Gopalan and economics professor Donald Harris.
“And that’s how they met, as students in the streets of Oakland marching and shouting for this thing called justice in a struggle that continues today,” said the senator from California.
“And I was part of it. My parents would bring me to protests strapped tightly in my stroller,” recalled Harris.
“And my mother, Shyamala, raised my sister Maya and me to believe that it was up to us and every generation of Americans to keep on marching.”
“She’d tell us, ‘Don’t sit around and complain about things. Do something.’”
“So I did something,” said Harris who in 2011 became California’s first black woman and first Asian American attorney general.
“I devoted my life to making real the words carved in the United States Supreme Court: ‘Equal justice under law’”
“And 30 years ago, I stood before a judge for the first time, breathed deep, and uttered the phrase that would truly guide my career and the rest of my career: Kamala Harris for the people.”