Kamala Harris Makes History: California Senator Becomes First Black and Indian American Woman to Be Nominated for VP

The North Star has dropped its paywall during this COVID-19 crisis so that pertinent information and analysis is available to everyone during this time. This is only possible because of the generous support of our members. We rely on these funds to pay our staff to continue to provide high-quality content. If you are able to support, we invite you to do so here.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden announced on August 11 that he chose Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his vice presidential running mate. Harris is the first Black and Indian American woman to be nominated for vice president by a major political party, Politico reported.

“Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I'm proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign,” Biden tweeted.


Moments before Biden announced Harris as his running mate, Harris tweeted a HuffPost article about how 267 women of color are running for the House and Senate this year. She noted that “Black women and women of color have long been underrepresented in elected office and in November we have an opportunity to change that.”

Who is Kamala Harris

Harris, 55, was born and raised in Oakland, California. Her mother, Shyamala, was an Indian American immigrant, activist and breast cancer researcher. Harris’ father is an economist from Jamaica.

After graduating from Howard University and earning a law degree from the University of California, Hastings, Harris started her career at the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

In 2003, Harris became the District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco. During her time as DA, she refused to seek the death penalty against a man who was convicted of fatally shooting a San Fransisco Police Department Officer, despite the opposition she faced from fellow Democrats, according to the San Fransisco Chronicle.

She was elected Attorney General of California in 2010 and was re-elected again in 2014. During her time as AG, she was criticized for her tough on crime policies, including overcrowded California prisons and refusing to release incarcerated individuals, Vox reported.

Harris became California’s third female senator after defeating Loretta Sanchez in the 2016 Senate election. Three years later, Harris announced she was running for president for the 2020 election race. During one of her defining moments during the presidential race, she slammed Biden for working with segregationists in the Senate and for previously opposing mandatory busing of students to desegregated public schools.

“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,” she said onstage during the presidential debate last year. “And that little girl was me.”

Since the debate, the two no longer have hard feelings for each other. Following Biden’s announcement, Harris said she was honored to be his VP pick.

“@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he's spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he'll build an America that lives up to our ideals,” Harris wrote on Twitter. “I'm honored to join him as our party's nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”