Kamala Harris: The Fast Facts That May Surprise You

Kamala Harris: The Fast Facts That May Surprise You

Kamala Harris was the first Black female district attorney in California, California’s first female attorney general, the first Indian American senator, and now, the first Black woman and first Asian American Vice President. 

Here are some more facts about Kamala Harris that may surprise you:

1. She Is Of Indian And Jamaican Heritage

Kamala Harris has a diverse heritage. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was an Indian immigrant, specifically of Tamil Brahmin heritage, born in Chennai (formerly Madras), India. Shyamala pursued a career as a biochemist and worked at various universities and research institutions.

On the other side of her family, Kamala Harris’s father, Donald Harris, is of Jamaican heritage. He was born in St. Ann Parish, Jamaica when it was under British colonial rule. Donald Harris had a successful career as an economist and professor.

Kamala Harris herself was born on October 20, 1964, in Oakland, California, making her a first-generation American. She often emphasizes her multicultural background and her upbringing, shaped by the civil rights movement and exposure to diverse perspectives through her parents and their community at the University of California, Berkeley.

2. She Dated San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Who Helped Her Career

In the mid-1990s, Harris, then a young deputy district attorney, became romantically involved with Willie Brown, a prominent political figure and Mayor of San Francisco, who was still married at the time. 

Harris was 29, Brown was 60 years old. 

 Brown was also a long-serving Speaker of the California State Assembly, adding a layer of complexity to their connection.

Brown’s marriage and the fact that he was separated from his wife at the time have fueled discussions and questions regarding the dynamics of his relationship with Harris. Critics have highlighted this aspect, emphasizing potential ethical considerations and questioning whether Harris benefited from her association with Brown, particularly in terms of professional appointments. 

During the course of their involvement, Brown appointed Harris to two notable positions within the California state government: the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the Medical Assistance Commission.


3. She Googled Her Husband Before She Met Him

According to People, Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, met on a blind date set up by her best friend in 2013. But Harris admitted that she Googled Emhoff before the date. 

“The morning after their first date, Doug emailed Kamala with a list of his available dates for the next couple of months. “I’m too old to play games or hide the ball,” the email read. ‘I really like you, and I want to see if we can make this work.'”

A year later Emhoff proposed, reportedly “in the middle of a decidedly unromantic conversation (she was deliberating between chicken or shrimp pad thai).”

They were married by Harris’ sister, Maya, at a courthouse in Santa Barbara, California.

Emhoff is a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer. He has been married before and has two children. 

4. Her Tenure As District Attorney Has Drawn Criticism

While Kamala Harris’ selection as Joe Biden’s running mate has been widely celebrated, it has also faced substantial scrutiny due to her past role as a prominent prosecutor. 

Critics have pointed out that, despite portraying herself as a reformer, Harris often opposed or remained silent on criminal justice reform proposals during her tenure as a district attorney and later as the state’s attorney general. 

Some critics argue that Harris tended to wait for political viability before taking a stance on controversial issues, rather than leading with conviction. Concerns have also been raised about her response to cases involving police violence, where she was seen as failing to intervene effectively. 

Additionally, Harris faced criticism for advocating legislation in California that penalized parents for their children’s truancy.

On the flip side, Harris has received praise for her efforts to push for progressive change. Notably, her “Back on Track” program aimed to divert non-violent first-time drug offenders from incarceration by encouraging them to obtain a high school diploma and for anti-bias training programs for law enforcement agencies in California. 

5. She Is Known For Her “Word Salads”

Although Kamala Harris has not made any significant achievements as Vice President of the United States, her “word salads” are regularly in the news as a source of amusement to all. 

For instance, there’s the time she said this confusing sentence about community banks: “We invested an additional $12 billion into community banks, because we know community banks are in the community, and understand the needs and desires of that community as well as the talent and capacity of community.” 

Or the time she responded to NBC’s Craig Melvin about the administration’s coronavirus mitigation strategy with these profound words: “It’s time for us to do what we have been doing, and that time is every day.”

Here’s another one on Culture: “Culture is — it is a reflection of our moment and our time. Right? And present culture is the way we express how we’re feeling about the moment and we should always find times to express how we feel about the moment. That is a reflection of joy. Because, you know…it comes in the morning,”

6. She Is The Border Czar 

In 2021, President Joe Biden appointed Vice President Kamala Harris to deal with the border crisis at the Southern Border after facing growing pressure from Republicans. 

In 2022, CBP reported that the number of illegal migrant crossings at the southwest border topped 2.76 million, breaking the previous annual record by more than 1 million. 

As of October 2023, more than 2.8 million immigrants have already crossed the border, breaking 2022’s record with months to go. 

Rachel Emmanuel

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