Black American Icons: Kamala Harris
This year, Kamala Harris became the first African American, first Asian American and first woman to hold the office of Vice President of the United States. But she is determined not to be the last. Throughout her historic career, Kamala has had a strong sense of justice. Born in Oakland, California, Kamala and her sister Maya were greatly influenced by their remarkable parents. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was born in India and upon her move to the United States became a prominent biologist who made significant breakthroughs in breast cancer research. Her Jamaican father, Donald J. Harris, is a Stanford University professor of economics. Her parents were activists and brought her to civil rights demonstrations, introducing her to role models Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and civil rights leader Constance Baker Motley, which motivated her to become a prosecutor. After earning a degree in political science and economics at Howard University, Kamala received a law degree from University of California Hastings College of Law. In her early career she worked on criminal cases, including child abuse and neglect, serving as deputy district attorney, and assistant district attorney. Her series of firsts followed from there, when she became the first person of color to serve as district attorney of San Francisco, as well as the first African American and first South Asian American California Attorney General. She was elected U.S. Senator of California in November 2016. Throughout her historic career, Kamala has been guided by the words she spoke for the first time she stood up in court: Kamala Harris, for the people.
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