August 11th saw Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden announce his pick for Vice President. This pick broke open the history books; California US Senator Kamala Harris. Kamala has been steadily rising as a political force for over ten years. Her nomination is groundbreaking on so many levels. So, let us talk about Senator Harris.
Kamala Devi Harris was born in Oakland, CA to mom Shyamala Gopalan, a Madras born immigrant Cancer Researcher who held a PhD in Nutrition and Endocrinology, and Father Donald Harris, a Jamaican born immigrant Economics Professor. Kamala stated in the press conference on August 12th that her parents met at a Civil Rights Rally and continued to encourage their two daughters similarily.
***When we talk about Kamala, we need to make sure we mention that she is of Black and South Asian descent. ***
Kamala’s maternal grandparents were born in Madras (Chennai), India. Her grandfather held a Civil Servant position under the British Raj, worked for the Zambian government as Director of Relief Measures and Refugees in the 1960’s, and as a Joint Secretary for the Indian Republic. Civil service is in Kamala’s lineage. WHEN Biden/Harris get elected in November, Kamala Harris will become the FIRST Black/South Asian Woman, to hold the Vice President position. Her birth and career in California, will also make her the first West Coast native. Her husband, Doug Emhoff will become the first “2nd Gentleman” and it is this presidential ticket will see the first time people of Jewish descent are that highly connected to the White House. (Two of Biden’s children are married to people who are Jewish.)
Kamala graduated from Howard University and UC Hastings, College of Law. She holds two honorary degrees; the first awarded in 2015 by USC and the second from Howard University in 2017.
Senator Harris started her law career in 2004 as a District Attorney in San Francisco which she held until 2010. She was elected California’s Attorney General from 2010-2016. Kamala became the first South Asian and 2nd Black woman to be voted into the U.S. Senate in 2016 when she won the vacant seat held by Senator Barbara Boxer.
As a Senator, she is part of four major committees: Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Intelligence Committee, Budget Committee, and the Homeland Security/Government Affairs Committee. She took part in the vetting proceedings of the appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Participating in the hearings surrounding U.S. Attorney General William Barr as well as the 2019-2020 Impeachment hearings of Donald Trump.
Most recently she was part of the hearings questioning Homeland Security’s role and actions in the protests in Portland.
The Right Wing, Trump Campaign, and Trump himself have already started attacking; many of which are illogical, racist, and sexist. Tweets surrounding Harris’s Jamaican roots being tied to a famous Irish Slave Owner were meant to delegitimize her position within the Black community but are actually refusing to acknowledge the harsh realities that slaves – especially women faced.
And yes, liberals and democrats have also voiced their concerns over Harris’s records surrounding prosecution, incarceration, approval of military spending, etc.
***It should be mentioned that yes, Senator Harris’s judicial record has contributed to the rising numbers of mass incarceration when she was a San Francisco District Attorney and California’s Attorney General, and yet her overall work is laud worthy and she is qualified for the Vice Presidency. ***
When it comes down to it, America, we have lost over 160,000 lives in this country to COVID19. We are facing a crumbling economy that will bring about an epic economic depression the likes that will surpass the 1930’s Depression. Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove have not be charged with the murder of Breonna Taylor. Every day, peaceful protests are still happening which are met by Government sponsored violence. Director Ava DuVernay posted a response to those that have spoke out against Harris. She writes:
“There is no debate anymore. There’s no room for it in my book. We either make this happen. Or literally, more of us perish. People are dying. Someone I love died…Oh but, Kamala did this or she didn’t do that. I hear you. I know. And I don’t care.
Because what she DIDN’T DO is abandon citizens in a pandemic, rip babies from their mother’s arms at the border, send federal troops to terrorize protestors, manufacture new ways to suppress Black and Brown votes, actively disrespect Indigenous people and land, traffic in white supremacist rhetoric in an effort to stir racist violence at every turn, attempt to dismantle most American democratic systems of checks and balance, degrade women all day everyday, infect the Supreme Court with another misogynist hack, demolish America’s standing on climate, actively cultivate and further white supremacist structures and systems across all aspects of American daily life. I mean, that’s what she DIDN’T do. So I don’t wanna hear anything bad about her. It doesn’t matter to me.
Vote them in and then let’s hold them accountable. Anything other than that is insanity.
It’s ego. It’s against our own interests. It’s selfish. It’s disrespectful to our elders. It’s nonsense. It’s talking to hear yourself talk. This is a matter of life or death. We need all our energy focused. This is a fight for more than can be expressed here. There is no debate anymore. Not for me anyway.”
America, we must learn from 2016 when countless progressives and those in the middle chose to tear down Hilary Clinton and we were forced into having an openly sexist, racist misogynist as President. American voters, we do have power in who we elect AND to make sure that those we elect are held accountable. Joe Biden might not have been your first choice; he is not free and clear of his own problematic record. Yet anything other then Biden/Harris is death.
What I also know is that Joe Biden promised a woman as his Vice President and as of August 11, we have the first Black and South Asian woman Vice President candidate in history. And today that gives me hope.
Anjeanette LeBoeuf is hunkering down during this pandemic and hopes all that reads this are safe and well. She is the Queer Advocate for the Western Region of the American Academy of Religion. She continued to put in work to demand justice for Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Vanessa Guilen and the 7 other murders at Fort Hood and for the countless unnamed people who have been taken from our world.