Kamala Harris Makes History as the First Black South Asian Woman VP Candidate

Kamala Harris was chosen to be Joe Biden’s running mate in his 2020 presidential campaign.

Despite the delays in Biden’s announcements, Biden held true to his promise made in late July that he would choose a woman as his VP pick. The Democratic presidential candidate told MSNBC’s Joy Reid that “four Black women” were in the mix, according to CNN.

A proud heritage: Coming from a biracial ethnic background, Harris is Black and South Asian (Indian), and embraced both cultures growing up with her single mother and sister.

  • “My mother understood very well she was raising two black daughters. She knew that her adopted homeland would see Maya and me as black girls, and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident black women,” she said.
  • Harris’ mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was raised in a family of “political activism and civic leadership;” holding roles helping refugees, women and victims of domestic violence in India, according to BBC.
  • In May, she introduced a bill condemning “Chinese virus” as racist and denounced the steep rise in anti-Asian attacks and hate crimes.

Historic: Harris’ new title became a historic decision, as she is the first-ever “Black woman and the only South Asian American woman ever to become presumptive vice presidential nominee of a major political party,” according to Vox.

  • The newly appointed running mate also “served as the first woman District Attorney in San Francisco’s history, and as the first African American woman and South Asian American woman in California to hold the office,” from 2004-2010, according to California Office of the Attorney General.
  • Harris is for sex work, marijuana legalization, medicare for all, the environment and battling climate change, abortion rights, banning assault weapons, closing the income gap, and more, according to Axios.


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It’s official: Sen. Kamala Harris is Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick. It’s a historic first — Harris is the only Black woman and the only South Asian American woman ever to become presumptive vice presidential nominee of a major political party.⁣ ⁣ A former competitor against Biden for the 2020 presidential nomination, Harris currently represents California in the US Senate; she was elected to that position after serving as the state’s attorney general.⁣ ⁣ As a Black woman, she may appeal to the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituency, and she recently helped craft the Justice in Policing Act — the sweeping policing reform bill from House and Senate Democrats. However, Harris’s criminal justice record as a former prosecutor has not always translated into the easiest relationship with Black communities — especially with groups on the left.⁣ ⁣ Historically, the vice presidential pick has had little electoral impact, but there are factors that could make Biden’s choice uniquely important this cycle. Biden’s age — he’d be the oldest person ever elected president — and questions about whether he’ll pursue a second term have put more focus on the VP pick. Regardless of what happens in November, the Biden-Harris ticket has made history today.⁣ ⁣ Swipe to see some key facts about Harris, and to stay up to date with Vox’s #2020election coverage, visit the link in bio.

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Reaction: Biden praised his running mate in a statement, stating that she is the right person and will get the job done, according to Axios. Supporters celebrated the pick, whereas opposition criticized her.

  • “I need someone who understands the pain that so many people in our nation are suffering. Whether they’ve lost their job, their business, a loved one to this virus. This president says he ‘doesn’t want to be distracted by it’. He doesn’t understand that taking care of the people of this nation — all the people — isn’t a distraction — it’s the job. Kamala understands that,” Biden said.
  • “Her record of accomplishment — fighting tooth and nail for what’s right — is why I’m choosing her. There is no door Kamala won’t knock on, no stone she’ll leave unturned, if it means making life better — for the people.”

Feature Image via Getty

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