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 second--highest 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.
Copyright © 2021 by Penguin Random House LLC.; Illustrated by Manuel Gutierrez. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.