“I am the first vice-president, but I will not be the last. Every little girl who watches television tonight sees that this is a land of possibilities. Dressed in white, in tribute to suffragists who claimed the right to vote for women in the early 20th century, Kamala Harris dedicated her victory on November 7 to those who “paved the way” to her election. In front of her supporters, in Delaware, the 56-year-old Californian also spoke of her deceased mother, an Indian who arrived in the United States at the age of 19: “She believed in an America capable of generating such a moment as this. “
VIDEO. Kamala Harris: “I am the first vice-president, but not the last”
The first woman and first person of color to become the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris has experienced a rise as America loves them. Kamala, “Lotus flower” in Sanskrit, was born in 1964 in Oakland, California, a working-class town with a large black population, near San Francisco. His father, Donald Harris, arrives from Jamaica. A scholarship holder, he is pursuing a master’s degree in economics at Berkeley University.
Coming from a wealthy family in India, her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, studied biochemistry there. She will become a renowned specialist in breast cancer. At the time, the campus had 20,000 students, including around 100 blacks. Donald and Shyamala campaign together for civil rights, while raising Kamala and soon Maya, his sister. “They took Kamala in strollers to demonstrations,” said Pastor Amos Brown, an activist who knew the couple. When others asked what the baby was doing there, Shyamala would reply: She is here for freedom! “
She joined a school of white students
Oakland is then cut in two, the whites live on the hills, the blacks below. As a child, Kamala took advantage of a desegregation program and a bus took him every day to a school until then reserved for whites. A program moreover criticized then by a certain Joe Biden, senator of Delaware since 1972. On Thursday evenings, Shyamala takes her daughters to the Rainbow Sign, a cultural center where the great figures of the black cause parade: the singer Nina Simone, the writer Maya Angelou or Shirley Chisholm, the first black candidate for the presidency. Her mother, Kamala writes in her memoir published in 2019 (untranslated), “knew that her adopted homeland would see us, Maya and I, first as black girls and she was determined to make sure we became self-confident and proud black women ”.
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Her mother landed a job in Montreal, where Kamala lived for five years and learned some French. In 1981, she entered Howard, Washington, a university considered “a black Harvard”, then studied law in Hastings, California. But rather than joining a very profitable private practice, she surprises her relatives by choosing, in 1990, to join the public service, at the prosecutor’s office, and devotes herself in particular to cases of sexual assault.
The sparkling lawyer then mingles with the progressive youth, white and gold, of Pacific Heights, an upscale neighborhood of San Francisco. She meets Willie Brown, a politician thirty years her senior who will become the first black mayor of the city and with whom she begins an affair. In 2004, she entered politics. She is the first female prosecutor from San Francisco, then in 2011 from California. Elected senator in 2016, she made a name for herself in America during the muscular questioning of Trump’s candidate for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.
Still opposed to the death penalty
But the ambitious dreams even higher and launches, in January 2019, in the Democratic primary, reserving his first attacks to Joe Biden. She finally throws in the towel, for lack of funds, and rallies to him in March. Having become her running mate in August, she leaves for the countryside. Detonating, she arrives on stage in sneakers and dancing to the rhythm of the brass bands. Faced with such energy, the Republican camp mocks his exotic first name, his “socialism” and his displayed joy.
But it is nevertheless from the left that the hardest blows come. If she supports the #MeToo movement, the right to abortion and the #BlackLiveMatters mobilization, if she has always opposed the death penalty, Kamala Harris is accused by some of having had a heavy hand with delinquents, many of whom were from the black minority. In particular, it refused to study the files of convicted prisoners and allow them to use DNA tests to exonerate themselves. In 2015, she did not react to the death of Mario Woods, a 26-year-old black man, shot dead by 20 bullets fired by San Francisco police officers. African-American activists even criticize Kamala, now married to Doug Emhoff, a white and Jewish lawyer, for not being a descendant of slaves. Criticisms that President Barack Obama, son of a white American and a Kenyan, had already had to face.
And after ? Many already imagine Kamala Harris becoming the first president of the United States. Joe Biden, who turns 78 on November 20, has already hinted that he will only serve one term. She would then be very well placed to take up the Democratic torch.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr