For the first time in American history, a Black woman will be vice president.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) will become the first woman to hold the second-highest office in the country, as well as the first Black person and the first person of South Asian descent to assume the role. She will take office in January.
Harris was born in Oakland, California, in 1964. Her parents met while they were both foreign students at UC-Berkeley, her dad from Jamaica, and her mother from India.Former Vice President Joe Biden named Harris as his running mate in August. She has served as the junior senator of California for the past four years, cosponsoring the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, among other police reform measures.
Before her election to the Senate in 2016, Harris served as San Francisco's district attorney and California's attorney general. After running in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, she dropped out of the primary last December.
During the presidential campaign, Harris has been the subject of racist and sexist attacks. In September, Donald Trump claimed that "nobody likes" Harris, and he and other GOP members have deliberately mispronounced her name for months.
Trump and his supporters claimed without evidence that Harris isn't a U.S. citizen, making her ineligible to run for vice president. The racist attack mirrored Trump's attack on President Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, when Trump falsely claimed that Obama was born in Kenya.
Trump himself has called Harris a "nasty" woman, echoing the slur he slung at Hillary Clinton in 2016. Trump has called Harris "angry" and filled with "such hatred" — terms that feed into the racist stereotype of the "angry Black woman."
In August, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh accused Harris of "brazenly sleeping her way to the top" and made derogatory comments about her "backside." In August, Amazon removed merchandise from its website that read "Joe and the Hoe."
Harris has inspired many during the campaign. Political observers praised Harris' cross-examination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his Senate confirmation hearings, as well as Attorney General William Barr during Senate hearings about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Harris' Oct. 7 debate performance was a key moment of strength for the campaign during a turbulent, rancorous election year. In one viral moment, Harris coolly called out Vice President Mike Pence's repeated interruptions.
"Mr. Vice President, I'm speaking," she said with a smile.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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