By Ed Diokno
Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General, hopes to become the state’s first Indian American U.S. Senator. If she wins, she would also become the state’s first African American U.S. Senator. She’s running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is retiring after 24 years in the Senate.
Of mixed parentage, the state’s top law enforcement officer, gives her parents credit for her desire for justice and equity.
“My parents met when they were graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley, while they were active in the civil rights movement,” said Harris in an article by public radio station KPCC.
Harris’ father is from Jamaica and taught economics at Stanford University. Her mother was an endocrinologist and breast cancer researcher from India.
“I grew up in a family where I had a strong sense of my culture and who I am, and I never felt insecure about that at all,” she said.
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“My sister Maya and I, we joke that we grew up surrounded by a bunch of adults who spent full time marching and shouting for this thing called justice,” said Harris, who grew up in Oakland, California.
She said the people she looked up to were civil-rights icons: Thurgood Marshall, Charles Hamilton Houston and Constance Baker Motley. They were all lawyers, with Marshall eventually becoming a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Harris said their heroism inspired her to study law.
She went on to graduate from Howard University and received her law degree from Hastings College of Law of the University of California.Overwhelmingly endorsed by California’s Democratic Party last month, Harris is ahead of all her rivals in the polls. Her top challenger is another Democrat, Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange County, who – if not for Harris – likely would have been the Democrats’ favorite.
Considered a rising star in California politics, her name was mentioned as a possible candidate for the vacant Supreme Court seat. Before President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, Harris withdrew her name for consideration so she could concentrate on her Senate bid.
(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)
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