On November 7, 2020, Kamala Harris, a senator from California, became the first woman and the first African-American and South Asian-American person to be elected to the vice presidency. While her nomination for this position was not unexpected, her rise to national prominence was one filled with unexpected turns and obstacles. After failing her first bar exam to become a lawyer, she tried again and passed. From there, she quickly rose through the legal ranks, serving as district attorney of San Francisco, then California's attorney general, and soon, senator. As a politician, Kamala Harris has been a vocal champion of progressive reforms and women's rights. This exciting story details the defining moments of what led to her nomination and all the monumental ones since that have shaped her career and the future of America.
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Who Is Kamala Harris?
On August 11, 2020, a US senator from California named Kamala Harris tweeted: “Black women and women of color have long been underrepresented in elected office and in November we have an opportunity to change that. Let’s get to work.”
Three hours later, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted: “I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris—a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants—as my running mate.”
Kamala Harris, the senator from California, had been selected to be the Democratic candidate for vice president. She was taking the opportunity to make the change she had just talked about.
The choice made sense in many ways. Kamala was an experienced politician. She had won several races for public office in her native California. She knew how to campaign. And she agreed with Joe Biden on many issues.
But even in 2020, his choice of Kamala was a bold move. There were still people who didn’t believe a woman could hold a leadership position like vice president. Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin had both run for vice president. Hillary Clinton had run for president. Kamala was only the fourth woman—and the first woman of color—to run at this level. Her father was Black and her mother was Indian. People weren’t used to seeing someone that looked like her running for the secondhighest office in the country.
Some people were thrilled by the news—including many women of color. If Kamala Harris could be nominated for vice president, then maybe things were changing for women, and especially for women of color.
Other voters had a more mixed reaction. They liked the fact that Kamala was a woman of color. They knew that it had taken far too long for a Black or Southeast Asian woman to get a chance to be in power. But they didn’t think Kamala was willing to push hard enough for change on topics like health care or law enforcement.
Kamala knew there were doubters. But that was okay. She had been the first many times before. She had been the first Black woman district attorney in California. She had been the first Black woman to be elected attorney general of California. And she had been the first Black woman senator from California. She was used to fighting, so she was ready to fight doubt. And she was ready to fight for the American people.
Table of Contents
Who Is Kamala Harris? 1
Shyamala and the Girls 4
For the People 12
First and First 29