On August 11, 2020, the Democratic presumptive Presidential candidate, Joe Biden named Kamala Harris as his running mate, making her the first Black, Jamaican-American and South Asian-American woman to run on a major political party’s presidential ticket.

If elected, Harris—the daughter of two immigrants—will become the nation’s first Black vice president, the first female vice president, the first Indian-American and the first Jamaican-American to ascend to the office.

It has been suggested that Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is betting that, on balance, Harris will have broad appeal with Black women and other voters of color and serve as an anchor for the Democratic Party– all while boosting turnout among white liberals and pulling support from independents and Republican-leaning white voters who have soured on President Donald Trump.

Facts about Kamala Harris

The first Black woman to be elected district attorney in California history, first woman to be California’s attorney general, first Indian American senator, and now, the first Black woman and first Asian American to be picked as a vice presidential running mate on a major-party ticket.

Kamala Devi Harris was born in Oakland, California on October 20, 1964, the eldest of two children born to Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher from India, and Donald Harris, an economist from Jamaica.

Her parents met at UC Berkeley while pursuing graduate degrees, and bonded over a shared passion for the civil rights movement, which was active on campus. After she was born, they took young Kamala along to protests in a stroller.

Harris’ parents divorced when she was 7, and her mother raised her and her sister, Maya, on the top floor of a yellow duplex in Berkeley.

Harris attended middle school and high school in Montreal, Canada after her mom got a teaching job at McGill University and a position as a cancer researcher at Jewish General Hospital.

After high school, Harris attended Howard University, the prestigious historically Black college in Washington, D.C. She majored in political science and economics, and joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the pre-eminent Black sorority.

She attended law school in San Francisco at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, graduating with her J.D. degree, in 1989

In 1990, after passing the bar, Harris joined the Alameda County prosecutor’s office in Oakland as an assistant district attorney focusing on sex crimes.

In 2003, she ran for district attorney in San Francisco against incumbent Terence Hallinan, her former boss.

She was elected in a runoff with 56.5 percent of the vote. With her victory, she became the first Black woman in California to be elected district attorney.

Some advocates say Harris didn’t do enough to address police brutality while she was attorney general, especially after she refused to investigate the police shootings of two Black men in 2014 and 2015. She also didn’t support a 2015 bill in the state assembly that would have required the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor who specializes in police use of deadly force.

She married Doug Emhoff, a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles, in 2014 at a small and private ceremony officiated by her sister. Emhoff has two children from his previous marriage; they call Harris “Momala.”

Before she was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2017, Harris served as: San Francisco district attorney from 2004-2011; and California attorney general from 2011-2016.

She won her U.S. Senate race in 2016, defeating fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez, a moderate congresswoman with 20 years of experience.

Harris is among the best-known Black women in American politics, with appeal to both moderates and liberals.

By choosing Harris as his political partner, Biden may well be anointing her as the de facto leader of his party in four or eight years.

In her speech she paid tribute to pioneering women before her, including her late mother, while pledging to tackle the “structural racism” that continues to hold other Americans back. “That I am here tonight is a testament to the dedication of generations before me,” Harris, D-Calif., said. “Women and men who believed so fiercely in the promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all. They organized, marched, and fought—not just for their vote, but for a seat at the table.”

Harris, 55, made history as the first Black woman and Indian American woman on a major party presidential ticket. She paid special tribute to her Indian immigrant mother for raising her and her sister to be “proud strong Black women.” And she called out persistent racial inequalities, which the coronavirus pandemic further exposed.

“While this virus touches us all, let’s be honest, it is not an equal opportunity offender,” Harris said. “Black, Latino and Indigenous people are suffering and dying disproportionately. This is not a coincidence. It is the effect of structural racism.”

Harris said the racial inequities are evident in education, technology, health care, housing, job security, excessive force by police and the criminal justice system.

Harris said the racial inequities are evident in education, technology, health care, housing, job security, excessive force by police and the criminal justice system.

“And let’s be clear—there is no vaccine for racism,” Harris said.

“We’ve gotta do the work. For George Floyd. For Breonna Taylor. For the lives of too many others to name.”