In 2021, Kamala Harris made history when she became the first woman to be sworn in as Vice President of the United States. This landmark event was a fitting pinnacle of a trail-blazing career.
Harris was born in California to Jamaican and Indian parents. As a first-generation immigrant, Harris represents a large portion of the American population, and this fact has shaped much of her political and legal career.
She attended Howard University before studying at the University of California, Hastings College of Law. She joined the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office in 1990, shortly after graduation. She specialized in child sexual assault cases before serving as managing attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
Harris became District Attorney of San Francisco in 2003, where she pioneered a program to rehabilitate first-time drug offenders. The model was so successful that the rest of the country later adopted it.
In 2010, Harris became California’s Attorney General, the most prominent legal position in a state. It is also the largest state justice department in the USA. During her time in this position, Harris established a Bureau of Children’s Justice and several other reforms that ensured greater transparency and accountability in the system.
She also won a major settlement for California homeowners and prosecuted a for-profit education company that had defrauded students. Harris used her position to defend the Affordable Care Act, marriage equality, and environmental legislation.
Harris became a senator in 2017, during a tumultuous time in American politics. She used her position to defend immigrants’ rights, which were under severe attack at the time from the Trump administration. She was a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees, both of which aided her in her fight for immigrant rights.
Other important efforts included her work on combating hunger and reforming cash bail regulations, along with improving maternal healthcare and awareness of climate change. Harris also fought to protect historically Black colleges, getting the rule signed into law.
As the child of immigrants, Harris has always fought for diversity and equal rights. Her mother was a breast cancer scientist who received her doctorate the year Harris was born. Both of Harris’s parents took her to rallies and civil rights demonstrations while also making her aware of important role models, such as activist Constance Baker Motley. It was this upbringing that led Harris to become a prosecutor.
In August 2020, Harris became Joe Biden’s running mate. It was heavily recommended that he chooses a woman as his running mate, and Harris was the perfect candidate. More than simply ticking a box, she has a clear history of civil rights along with a distinguished legal career, making her more than qualified for the job.
Kamala Harris will go down in history as the first woman, first Black American, and first South Asian American to hold the Vice Presidency. She has set an example for young women everywhere and will continue to do so during her time in office.