On Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden selected Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. as his vice presidential running mate. Here is some quick primer on Harris to get you up to speed on the candidate




Source: politico, propublica

Kamala is the first black woman to be elected district attorney in California history, first woman to be California's attorney general, first Indian American senator, and now, the first Black woman and first Asian American to be picked as a vice presidential running mate on a major-party ticket.


Kamala was born in Oakland, California on October 20, 1964, the eldest of two children born to Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher from India, and Donald Harris, an economist from Jamaica. Shyamala had migrated from Chennai in India. She was a cancer researcher and a McGill fellow

Source: politico, prorepublica

parents met at UC Berkeley

Her mother, Shyamala, a native of India, was a scientist; her father, who came to the U.S. from Jamaica, is an emeritus economics professor at Stanford University. Her mother was originally supposed to enter an arranged marriage in India, but she refused, when she met Harris’ father at Berkeley, where the two were active in the civil rights movement.

Source: politico, prorepublica

proud Dad

In 1965 Kamala's father Donald was on his way to a doctorate in economics at Berkeley. Kamala remembers how after she was born, Donald and Shyamala took her along to protests strapped in a stroller.

maternal grandfather,
PV Gopalan was A strong influence

Kamala Harris in the late1960s spent time at her maternal grandfather PV Gopalan's house in Lusaka, Zambia. He was an Indian civil servant on assignment in an era of postcolonial ferment. Gopalan was dispatched to help Zambia manage an influx of refugees from Rhodesia — the former name of Zimbabwe — which had just declared independence from Britain.

Kamala on her grandfather PV Gopalan

“My grandfather was one of the original Independence fighters in India. Some of my fondest memories from childhood were walking along the beach with him after he retired and lived in Besant Nagar, in what was then called Madras,” Harris said in an in a republished interview in CNN.



Shyamala (mother) chose Kamala’s name as a nod both to her Indian roots—Kamala means “lotus” and is another name for the Hindu goddess Lakshmi—and the empowerment of women.

In first grade, Harris was bused to Thousand Oaks Elementary School, which was in its second year of integration. Busing, also called desegregation busing, in the United States, was the practice of transporting students to schools within or outside their local school districts as a means of rectifying racial segregation. For the next three years, she’d play “Miss Mary Mack” and cat’s cradle with her friends on the bus that traveled from her predominantly black, lower-middle-class neighborhood to her school located in a prosperous white district.


waiting for santa

courtsey : Kamala Harris As a child, Harris went to both a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple—embracing both her South Asian and Black identities. “My mother understood very well that she was raising two black daughters,” Harris later wrote in her autobiography, “and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident, proud black women.

Christmas 1968. Sisters Kamala (L) and Maya waiting for Santa Claus

Kamala's favorite pleather jacket at age seven

“I’m dealing with this brutal stuff, dog-eat-dog in school, and then I would come home and we would all stand by the toilet and wave bye to a piece of shit,” Harris recalled in 2018. “It will put this place in perspective.”

Kamala Harris
source : POLITICO

the sisters

Maya and Kamala

Harris’ parents divorced when she was 7-years-old, and her mother raised her and her sister, Maya, on the top floor of a yellow duplex in Berkeley

Kamala Hanging out with her family in Jamaica. Maya is off to the right

Kamala (R) and Maya in front of Mrs. Shelton’s house, holding her granddaughter Saniyyah. The house was always full of children, good cooking, and lots of love. (Summer 1978)


In Montreal, a 13-year-old Harris and her younger sister, Maya, led a successful demonstration in front of their apartment building in protest of a policy that banned children from playing on the lawn.

Mrs Shelton's kitchen

Even after Kamala began working in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, she would return to Mrs. Shelton’s kitchen, where I always knew I would receive a warm hug and delicious food.

graduating AS A FIGHTER

During her freshman year at Howard University, Kamala would often spend her weekends at the Mall protesting apartheid and calling for divestment. Here Kamala is with Gwen Whitfield (November 1982)


In 1990, after passing the bar, Harris joined the Alameda County prosecutor’s office in Oakland as an assistant district attorney focusing on sex crimes.

source: POLITICO


In 1990, after passing the bar, Harris joined the Alameda County prosecutor’s office in Oakland as an assistant district attorney focusing on sex crimes.

source: POLITICO


In 2003, she ran for district attorney in San Francisco against incumbent Terence Hallinan, her former boss. Her message, a top strategist on that campaign told POLITICO, was: “We’re progressive, like Terence Hallinan, but we’re competent like Terence Hallinan is not.”


Kamala was elected in a runoff with 56.5 percent of the vote. With her victory, she became the first Black woman in California to be elected district attorney.

COnviction rate surges

In the first three years of Kamala's tenure as district attorney, San Francisco’s conviction rate jumped from 52 to 67 percent.

source : POLITICO

controversy strikes

One of Harris’ most controversial decisions came in 2004 when she declined to pursue the death penalty against the man who murdered San Francisco police officer Isaac Espinoza. At the funeral, Senator Dianne Feinstein delivered a eulogy in which she criticized Harris, who was in the audience, prompting a standing ovation from the hundreds of officers in attendance.

source: POLITICO

cocaine storm

Kamala was under scrutiny during her tenure as San Francisco district attorney when a technician stole cocaine from the DA’s crime lab and mishandled evidence. Harris, trying to keep things under wraps, failed to inform defense attorneys. As a result, about a thousand drug-related cases had to be thrown out.

source: POLITICO


Kamala's friendship with Barack Obama dates back to his run for Senate in 2004. She was the first notable California officeholder to endorse him during his 2008 presidential bid.

After her inauguration as Attorney General, California Kamala went over to her new office to see what it would be like. It was totally empty except for a chair in the middle. She was happy to take her seat.


doug and i

Kamala married Doug (Douglas) Emhoff, a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles, in 2014 at a small and private ceremony officiated by her sister. Emhoff has two children from his previous marriage; they call Harris “Momala.”

winning us senate race

Kamala won her U.S. Senate race in 2016, defeating fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez, a moderate congresswoman with 20 years of experience.

source: POLITICO


She went viral in 2017 for her sharp questioning of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the Russia investigation. After 3½ minutes of persistent questioning, Sessions said, “I’m not able to be rushed this fast! It makes me nervous.”

source: POLITICO

Her most fervent online supporters were called the “KHive,” a phrase inspired by Beyoncé’s loyal group of fans, the “Beyhive.”


source: POLITICO

By far the most viral moment of her presidential campaign came in the first Democratic debate, when she confronted Joe Biden over his position on cross-district busing in the 1970s while using a personal experience


In two TV interviews over the course of a week in 2019, President Donald Trump called Harris “nasty” for her questioning of Attorney General WIlliam Barr over his handling of the Mueller report during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.


Kamala delayed her endorsement for Biden until March 8, when there were no more women left in the race and his nomination was undeniable. Six days after the California primary, she threw her support behind Biden and said he was a leader who could “unify the people.



Although Kamala doesn't have any biological children of her own, she is a stepmom of two children from Doug's previous marriage to Kerstin Emhoff: a stepdaughter named Ella and a stepson named Cole

Does Kamala Harris have any children?



She’s an enthusiastic cook who bookmarks recipes from the New York Times’ cooking section and has tried almost all the recipes from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food. Her go-to dinner entree is a simple roast chicken.

Kamal's favorite books include Native Son by Richard Wright, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

What are Kamala's favourite books ?

source: POLITICO

Kamala typically wakes up around 6 am and works out for half an hour on the elliptical or SoulCycle. She’ll start the day with a bowl of Raisin Bran with almond milk and tea with honey and lemon before leaving for work.




When a reporter asked Kamala about carrying on Obama’s legacy during her run for president, she said, “I have my own legacy.”

“You may be the first, but make sure you’re not the last.”


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