- Search The Registry
- Teacher’s Forum
- Youth Programs
- About Us
- Creating Support
- My Account
*Kamala Harris was born on this date in 1964. She is a Black politician and community advocate. From Oakland, California, Harris is the daughter of a Tamil Indian mother, Dr. Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a breast cancer researcher who emigrated from Chennai, India, in 1960 and a Jamaican American father, Donald Harris, a Stanford University economics professor. She has one younger sister, Maya.
The family moved to Berkeley, California, where both of her parents attended graduate school. They also introduced their daughter to American Civil Rights activism in Berkeley. Harris's parents divorced when she was 7, her mother raised her daughters in Berkeley, where the family lived in a predominantly Black neighborhood and where the girls sang in a Baptist choir and they were also raised with Hindu beliefs. Her name, Kamala, means "lotus flower" in Hindi. She was extremely close with her maternal grandfather, Rajam Gopalan, an Indian diplomat and as a child she would frequently visit her family in Besant Nagar.
Her mother eventually moved the family to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where Shyamala took a position doing research at the Jewish General Hospital and teaching at McGill University. After graduating from Montreal's Westmount High School in Quebec, Harris attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she majored in political science and economics. At Howard, Harris was elected to the liberal arts student council as freshman class representative, a member of the debate team, and joined Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She then returned to California, earning her law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in 1989. She was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1990.
Harris served as a Deputy District Attorney in Alameda County, California, from 1990 to 1998. After 1998, she became Managing Attorney of the Career Criminal Unit in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. In 2000, she was Chief of the Community and Neighborhood Division, which oversees civil code enforcement, matters; she served on the board of the California District Attorney's Association and was Vice President of the National District Attorneys Association. On November 12, 2008, Harris announced her candidacy for California Attorney General. Both of California's United States Senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, endorsed Harris during the Democratic Party primary. In the June 8, 2010, primary, she was nominated with 33.6% of the vote. After Democratic United States Senator Barbara Boxer announced her retirement from the Senate at the end of her term in 2016, Harris was the first candidate to declare her intention to run for Boxer's Senate seat. She officially announced the launch of her campaign on January 13, 2015.
In the November 2016 election, Harris won with 63 percent of the vote, carrying all but two counties. Following her victory, Harris promised to protect immigrants from the policies of President-elect Donald Trump. Also in November 2016, Mother Jones magazine named Harris as one of "11 Democrats Who Could Defeat President Trump in 2020". On August 11, 2020, she became the first Black woman Vice Presidential nominee in America. On January 20, 2021 she became the first Black woman Vice President and the second non while Vice President (Charles Curtis, 1929-1933) in America.