Kamala Harris: the First Woman and Person of Color to be Vice President


By Lauren Reiser, Senior Editor

California Senator, Kamala Harris, has made history as the first woman and person of color to be elected Vice President. In addition, she will be the first Indian American and Asian American elected to the office.

Harris was born in Oakland, California to two immigrant parents, but her parents divorced when she was five. She was mainly raised by her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a breast cancer researcher and activist.

After earning her undergraduate degree from Howard University, an HBCU, and lawyer degrees from from the University of California, Hastings, she began her career in politics and government in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

When speaking about her experience at Howard University, Harris told CNN reporter Dana Bash, “You didn’t have to be confined by anyone else’s idea of what it means to be Black. . . You could be a fine arts student and also be class president. You could be homecoming queen and be the head of the science club. You could be a member of a sorority and be in student government and want to go to law school, and it encouraged you to be your full self.”

In 2000, she worked for the Family and Children’s Services Division in San Francisco, where she focused on child abuse and neglect cases. Three years later, she ran for the district attorney of San Francisco, and she was elected in a runoff election.

In 2010, Kamala was elected to be the attorney general for the state of California, becoming the first woman, Black, and Indian-American in the position.

In the 2016 Senate election, Harris defeated Loretta Sanchez, becoming the first African American to represent California in the U.S. Senate. As a senator, Harris has strongly supported the Affordable Care Act and she serves on the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Harris began her 2020 presidential campaign in January of 2019, but she was unable to secure the Democratic nomination. In August 2020, the Democratic presidential candidate and the now President-elect Joe Biden selected Harris as his running-mate.

After a prolonged election due to the increase in the number of mail-in ballots, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election and defeated the incumbent Republican Donald J. Trump.

Wayne Hills Senior Gabrielle Goldman is excited to see a woman as the Vice-President-elect. “I think electing Kamala to be the Vice President is a great step in the right direction. Representation in our government is so important, and it is long overdue that a woman and person of color be elected as the VP.”