The untold truth of Kamala Harris

Kamala Devi Harris has broken a lot of ground. Born on October 20, 1964, the Oakland, California native graduated from Howard University and the University of California's Hastings College of the Law (per Biography).

After years working in California's legal system, Harris became state attorney general in 2010. In 2016, she became the second Black woman and the very first South Asian American in the U.S. Senate. In 2019, she ran for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in the 2020 election, but ended up dropping out of the race later that year.

Her political aspirations are far from over, though, and we very well may see her in the White House one day. Whether or not Harris ever becomes president, though, her impressive track record and her successful career as an attorney and a politician means that she will continue to be a role model for generations to come.

Kamala Harris' parents were activists

Harris' desire to fight for justice was instilled in her from a young age by her parents. "I was born a Black child in America, the child of parents who were marching and shouting, just like all the folks who have been marching and shouting in the streets these last days," Harris told The Washington Post. "From my childhood, I was there in a stroller in the streets, marching. It's just what I do. It's what I believe in. I don't know any other way."

Harris grew up admiring people who also had a strong track record of fighting for justice and equality, such as Thurgood Marshall, Charles Hamilton Houston, and Constance Baker Motley. "She was writing letters to Nixon to stop the bombing in Vietnam before she could really write her name," Harris' mother told San Francisco magazine in 2003, when Harris was running for San Francisco district attorney (via The Nation).

Kamala Harris was inspired to run for president by her mother

Although Harris' mom, Shyamala Gopalan, passed away a decade before Harris decided to run for president, she continues to be a major inspiration to her daughter. In a public appearance in 2019 (via Twitter), Harris said that one of the reasons she ran for president was because of her mother. "If you ever came home complaining about something, complaining, our mother would look at you with a straight face, maybe one hand on a hip, and she'd say, 'Well what are you going to do about it?'" she said. "So I decided to run for president of the United States."

A friend of the politician, Mimi Silbert, told the AP that Harris' "one important role model" was her mom.

Harris' mother, an intelligent woman with a Ph.D. who worked in breast cancer research, was also a trailblazer. She warned her daughter about the sexism she would encounter in her career. "She was one of the very few women of color in science," Harris told The New Yorker. "When I decided to run [for public office], she said, 'Honey, you watch out for what's going to happen, because there are still certain myths about what women can do and cannot do, in spite of the fact of what women actually do in life.'"

Kamala Harris has always been confident in her identity

Harris grew up in a multicultural family with two immigrant parents. Her mother is from India and her father is from Jamaica. The fact that Harris is biracial and Black has often drawn comparisons to Barack Obama, whose mother is a white woman from Kansas and whose father is from Kenya. Unlike Obama, though, Harris said that she has never struggled with her identity, telling The Washington Post that she grew up comfortable in her identity and simply thinks of herself as "an American."

Harris said that when she first ran for public office, she hated "that you are forced through that process to define yourself in a way that you fit neatly into the compartment that other people have created." She added, "My point was: I am who I am. I'm good with it. You might need to figure it out, but I'm fine with it."

In her autobiography, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, Harris said that, while she was raised to be proud of her Indian heritage, her "mother understood very well that she was raising two Black daughters." Harris wrote that her mother raised her children to be "confident, proud Black women."

Kamala Harris' sister is also making waves

While Maya Harris isn't as well known as her sister, she's also an inspiring figure. Like her sister, Maya is also an attorney and ran her sister's presidential campaign. She also served as an advisor during Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. Maya graduated with a law degree from Stanford after which became one of the youngest law school deans in the country at the age of 29.

"I think most people who know Maya will tell you she's one of the smartest people they know," Harris told Politico during her presidential run. "The fact that she has volunteered to work on this campaign at such a high level, and she's exactly who she's always been — she works around the clock and she's probably the hardest, if not one of the hardest working people on the campaign — I feel very blessed."

Maya's daughter, Meena, is carrying on the family legacy (per Business Insider). Meena is also an attorney as well as an author, activist, and entrepreneur.