Vice President Kamala Harris: Making political and cultural history

Inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris waves during the Inauguration Day parade for U.S. President Joe Biden, in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021.
REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Freshly inaugurated Vice President Kamala Harris is a true representative of American multiculturalism, progress and change.

Born in Oakland, California to a biologist mother, Shyamala Gopolan, from Tamil Nadu, India, and to a Jamaican father, Donald J. Harris, a Stanford University professor emeritus of economics. When she was inaugurated on Jan. 20 alongside United States President Joe Biden, she made history in multidimensional ways as the first female Black Vice President and the first female Vice President of South Asian descent.

She graduated from Howard University in 1986 before enrolling in law school at The University of California where she was President of its chapter of the Black Law Association.

Although blessed with a comfortable middle-class family and going on to receive a first-class education of which many people of color are deprived, Kamala paid her dues—fiercely.

She first dipped her toes into the United States Senate as an intern for California State Senator, Alan Cranston.

Over her near 31-year political career, Kamala, 56, hit the ground running after passing the California bar and in 1990 served as district attorney in Alameda County, CA, District Attorney of San Francisco, Attorney General of California and California Senator until 2020.

This meteoric progression up the political ranks is something to behold in itself. Kamala has constantly proved she can excel in many roles with integrity and tenacity.

With political unrest still brewing in the form of right-wing supremacist groups, and the country retaining a roughly 50/50 stickler-split between Republicans and Democrats, the unity that Joe Biden called for in his inauguration speech is going to be a tough path to forge, all whilst facing the COVID pandemic.

Kamala doesn’t waste time. She has the spirit of a true activist, and after the swearing in ceremony immediately began to fulfill her constitutional duty to heal a battered U.S. by swearing in three new Democratic senators: Jon Ossof and Raphael Warnock, as well as her own successor, Alex Padilla.

Despite her confidence, achievements and breathtaking activism, Harris has stated of her nomination that, “I didn’t think it would be possible. I really didn’t. Biden has shown, (he’s) going after quality. (He’s) going after someone that (he) knows can help lead this country, and he didn’t care what color he or she was.” The cultural importance of her inauguration as Vice President is seismic. Our children now have—as well as countless other role models—the Obamas and Harris to look up to as role models for their aspirations. And by the time they are of age, hopefully there will have been an explosion of race, religion and gender-identity diversity in high-ranking political roles.


Internationally, the day was celebrated as well.


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