Kamala Harris says she would make her Indian mother proud

Shyamala Gopalan with her infant daughter, Kamala Harris.
Shyamala Gopalan with her infant daughter, Kamala Harris. Photo credit: JoeBiden.com

Democratic VP nominee was raised with values of hard work and dignity of public service.

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris recalled her Indian immigrant mother who raised her two daughters with the values of hard work, public service and the importance of fighting for the dignity of all people.

“I thought about my mother, who came to the United States at the age of 19, gave birth to me at the age of 25 at the Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, California,” she said during solo vice presidential debate Wednesday in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“And the thought that I would be sitting here right now, I know, would make her proud. She must be looking down on this,” Harris said talking about her Chennai-born mother Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher, who succumbed to cancer in 2009.

“We were raised with values that are about hard work, about the value and dignity of public service, and about the importance of fighting for the dignity of all people.”

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The 55-year-old daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father made history in August by becoming the first ever Black and South Asian woman to run for national office on the ticket of a major political party.

Harris’ parents split when she was five-years-old. Her father Donald J Harris is an economist and professor emeritus at the Stanford University.

A call from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden asking her to be his running mate in the 2020 US presidential election was probably one of the most memorable days of her life, she said.

“The day I got the call from Joe Biden, it was actually a Zoom call asking me to serve with him on this ticket, was probably one of the most memorable days of my life,” Harris said.

In response to a question from moderator Susan Page from the USA Today newspaper, Harris said she and Biden were raised in a very similar way.

READ MORE: Road to the White House

“I think Joe asked me to serve with him because, you know, I have a career that included being elected the first woman district attorney in San Francisco where I created models of innovation for law enforcement in terms of reform of the criminal justice system,” she said.

Harris recalled she was the first woman of color to be elected attorney general of California with the second largest department of justice in the US, second only to the US department of justice.

“There, I took on everything from transnational criminal organisations to the big banks that were taking advantage of homeowners to for-profit colleges that were taking advantage of veterans,” she said.

“Now I serve in the US Senate as only the second black woman ever elected to the US Senate.”


Kamala Harris remembers her Indian American mother as she officially launches her White House bid (January 29, 2019)

My mother would say, ‘beat Trump’: Kamala Harris (September 7, 2020)

Kamala Harris salutes her unsung Indian mother for her rise (August 20, 2020)

Kamala Harris tells how her immigrant parents shaped her politics (August 13, 2020)

Kamala Harris’ Indian family thrilled (August 12, 2020)

Kamala Harris makes history again as Biden’s VP pick (August 11, 2020)

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