March 31, 2023
In culmination of Women’s History Month, PB&W honors Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president and the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history, as well as the first African American and first South Asian American vice president. She was elected vice president after a lifetime of public service, having been elected District Attorney of San Francisco, California Attorney General, and United States Senator.
Vice President Harris was born in Oakland, California to parents who emigrated from India (mother) and Jamaica (father). Unbeknownst to the world, she was destined for greatness and her mother had tremendous foresight. Indeed, in a quote, Vice President Harris shared, “My mother would look at me and she’d say, ‘Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.’”
Vice President Harris’ parents were activists, instilling her with a strong sense of justice. They brought her to civil rights demonstrations and introduced role models – ranging from Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to civil rights leader Constance Baker Motley – whose worked motivated her to become a prosecutor.
Vice President Harris graduated from Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of Law. In 1990, she joined the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. She was elected District Attorney of San Francisco in 2003. In that role, Harris created a ground-breaking program to provide first-time drug offenders with the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and find employment.
In 2010, Vice President Harris was elected California’s Attorney General and oversaw the largest state justice department in the country. A destiny realized, she was the first woman, the first African American, and the first South Asian American to hold the office of Attorney General in the golden state’s history. In 2017, Harris was sworn into the United States Senate. As Senator, she championed legislation to combat hunger, provide rent relief, and improve maternal health care.
On August 11, 2020, Vice President Harris accepted President Joe Biden’s invitation to be his running mate, and their ticket went on to defeat the incumbent president, Donald Trump, and vice president, Mike Pence.
While Vice President Harris has achieved many “firsts,” she is determined not to be the last. This is the essence of a role model and one of many reasons why we honor her as a great American helping to pave the way for this country’s future female leaders.