Inspiring Thursday: Kamala Harris

“If we do not lift up women and families, everyone will fall short.”

It was in 1958 when Shyamala Gopalan entered the USA from India to study at the University of California, Berkley. She was a civil rights activist and later became a breast cancer researcher. During the civil rights movement protests, she met a Jamaican economist named Donald Harris and decided to buck the Indian tradition of an arranged marriage to marry Donald. They soon became parents and named their first daughter after the Sanskrit word for “lotus”: Kamala

Kamala Harris inspired by her mother, worked hard to create a better life for US citizens, immigrant families, and minorities. Although it was not easy, she overcame all the expectations and changed the history of the USA.

Kamala studied political science and economics at Howard University and later earned a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College. After her graduation, she started to work in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, where she focused on prosecuting child sexual assault cases. Later, she became the first Black woman elected as San Francisco’s District Attorney and launched several programs such as a program to provide first-time drug offenders second chances with the opportunity to earn a high school degree and find a job.

In 2010, she was elected as the first Black woman to California Attorney General. During this time, she worked to protect Obamacare, helped win marriage equality for all, defended California’s landmark climate change law, and many more.

Kamala started to be considered a rising star within the Democratic party very quickly and was recruited to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer before. In 2015, she declared her candidacy and in 2016 she won the elections easily. While she was a U.S. Senator, she has introduced legislation to help the middle class, increase the minimum wage to $15 and defend the legal rights of refugees and immigrants.

In 2019, Kamala Harris announced that she was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2020 presidential elections. Although she was considered as one of the leading contenders, her campaign was very quickly in serious trouble, and in December 2019 she dropped out of the race. Following the death of George Floyd, as racial injustice became a major issue in the United States, many Democrats called on presidential candidate Joe Biden to select an African American woman for the post of vice-president. In August 2020 Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris, and she thus became the first Black woman to appear on a major party’s national ticket.

In presidential elections in November 2020, after the win of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris became the first woman, the first Black and the first South Asian-American to be elected the vice-president of the USA.

As Kamala said in her speech, she hopes to spark inspiration for every girl watching, and hopefully sooner than later Kamala and many other women no matter where are they coming from or what is the color of their skin will not be an exception from standard, but they will be the core of politics and upper management.

Written by WAVE Intern Mária Trubanová