America celebrated a historic moment recently wherein it witnessed the first female, the first woman of colour, and the first South-Asian person being elected as the Vice President of the United States, reports Times Now. In a powerful speech post her victory at the 2020 elections, Harris talked about her Indian roots, recalling her Indian-origin mother, and the struggles of past women which paved the way for her into the White House.
According to NDTV, Kamala Harris said:
“I’m grateful to the woman most responsible for my presence here today, my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris. When she came here from India at the age of 19, she maybe didn’t imagine this moment. But she believed so deeply in America where moment like this is possible.”
She went on to add:
“I am thinking about her and generations of women, black women, Asian, White, Latina, Native American women who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight. Women who sacrificed so much for equality, liberty, and justice for all, including the Black women, who are often – too often – overlooked but so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy. Tonight, I reflect on their struggle, the determination and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been.”
Have a look at the video here:
I’m thinking about my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, and the generations of Black women who came before me who believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible. pic.twitter.com/c3f13juMPw
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 8, 2020
In her autobiography, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey (2019), Harris talks about her mother, her journey to the United States, her marriage, and Harris’ childhood.
Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, was an Indian-born cancer scientist. She came to the U.S. when she was 19-years-old after having completed her graduation from Lady Irwin College, Delhi. She went on to complete her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. It was there where she met her future husband, Donald J. Harris, a Jamaican economist, reports NY Times.
Shyamala went on to have two daughters – Kamala and Maya. But her marriage didn’t last long and ended in a divorce when Kamala was a 7-year-old. After the separation, Shyamala was a single-parent raising her two daughters. They often came to India to meet their grandfather in Chennai.
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“My mother was very proud of her Indian heritage and taught us, me and my sister Maya, to share in the pride about our culture. We used to go back to India every couple of years. One of the most influential people in my life, in addition to my mother, was my grandfather P.V. Gopalan,” Harris had said in an earlier interview with CNN.
She adds, “India is the oldest democracy in the world – so that is part of my background, and without question has had a great deal of influence on what I do today and who I am.”
In various speeches and interviews, Kamala says, “My mother who was a very strong influence on my life always said, Kamala, you may be the first to do many things but make sure you’re not the last.”
"My mother had a saying that she would speak to me and my sister, and she would say to me: 'Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last,'" Kamala Harris at Variety's Power of Women in 2014 https://t.co/AvPrGCUqPs pic.twitter.com/g0Mh35iuB1
— Variety (@Variety) November 7, 2020
Vice President of the United States 🇺🇸
How it started How it’s going: pic.twitter.com/1YdlgRvWhL
— The Women's Organisation (@TheWomensOrg) November 7, 2020
From not allowing women to vote at all to a woman becoming the Vice-President of the country, the United States sure has come a long way!