While Joe Biden won the recent US Presidential Elections, it’s the first female Vice President Kamala Harris that everyone is mostly talking about!
From being the first female district attorney of San Francisco, the first female attorney general of California, the first Indian American in the US Senate and the first Indian American candidate to be elected as vice-president, Harris is surely giving the world a lot to talk about.
All that we know about Harris’ “firsts” are already very impressive, but there’s still a lot more to learn from this empowering woman. With that in mind, here’s a list of 10 interesting facts about the new Vice President of USA:
1. She doesn’t like to be labeled.
Kamala Harris is an American citizen who comes from a mix of both Indian and Jamaican backgrounds. This has led to the 56-year-old politician being defined and confined into boxes like the “first black female Vice President”. However, Harris has expressed that she doesn’t focus on her identity but simply just considers herself to be a “proud American”.
When speaking to Washington Post Harris stated, “When I first ran for office that was one of the things that I struggled with, which is that you are forced through that process to define yourself in a way that you fit neatly into the compartment that other people have created. I am who I am… You might need to figure it out, but I’m fine with it.”
2. Her eligibility to run for presidency in America was questioned.
Both Harris’ parents are immigrants who met in the US when studying at UC Berkely. Her mother, a breast cancer researcher, was born in India, while her father, an economist, was born in Jamaica. While they are both immigrants living in the US, Harris however was born in Oakland, California. This means that Harris is undeniably a US born citizen, making her eligible to run for presidency.
3. Her parents divorced when she was 7, whereafter she was raised by her mother.
4. Harris’ mother is her greatest influence.
“Her general philosophy was speak the truth and be honest and be clear of purpose,” said Harris when speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle about her mother. “What my mother would definitely advocate is you’ve got to go in and be true to the people who brung ya.”
5. She went to high school in Canada.
While Harris was born in the US, she was bred in Canada for a few of her younger years. From the ages of 12 to 17 years, Harris studied in Canada as her mother had got a job there after the divorce. The former Californian senator revealed that she found it hard to fit in there, especially since the first school she attended was French.
6. She was once a part of an all female dance group named “Midnight Magic”.
7. She fought for social justice from a very young age.
When Harris was 13-years-old, there was a regulation which did not allow playing on the lawn in front of her apartment. Harris believed that this was unfair and gathered all the neighbourhood children to lead a successful protest against this. She also decided to go without a date for her high school prom, so that her peers who had not been asked on dates wouldn’t feel left out. Harris sure was a young rebel, and for all the right reasons!
8. She introduced a bill to give domestic workers overtime pay and meal breaks, and also advocated for a minimum wage of US$15.
9. She loves to work out and cook. If she’s stressed and too busy to cook, she likes to read recipes as a form of relaxation.
10. She is described as hardworking and determined.
Lateefah Simon, who worked with Harris in the San Francisco district attorney’s office, stated, “Kamala is the toughest boss anybody will ever work for. She’s always the first in the office and the last to leave. She reads everything.”
What an incredibly inspirational woman. Harris has broken many glass ceilings throughout her long-running career, and we are very grateful for trailblazing women like her who are paving the way for a better future.
She has made history with her appointment as both the first African American and Indian American Vice President of the US, and we eagerly look forward to more championing from this leading lady.