Kamala Harris who made history by getting elected as the first female vice president of the United States remembered her Indian mother on Saturday while addressing the nation in the first speech after the US presidential election victory. “I’m grateful to the woman most responsible for my presence here today, my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris,” she said at a drive-in rally in Joe Biden’s home city of Wilmington, Delaware.
“When she came here from India at the age of 19, maybe she didn’t quite imagine this moment,” Harris also said. “But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible,” she added.
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“I’m thinking about her and about the generations of women… who have paved the way for this moment tonight,” she also said while paying tribute to Black women, Asian, White, Latina and Native American women for their role in the American politics.
A daughter of an Indian immigrant and a Jamaican-born father, Kamala Harris is the first female to be elected as the vice-president of America. Her father, Donald Harris, was from Jamaica, and her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher and civil rights activist from Chennai.
Harris’ maternal grandfather was born in Thulasenthirapuram, located about 320 km south of the city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Shyamala was the daughter of PV Gopalan, a high-ranking civil servant.
She further declared her victory as the beginning for women in her maiden speech on Saturday. “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris said in her acceptance speech at a drive-in rally in Delaware.
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“Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibility,” she said.
A US senator from California, Harris has a track record of shattering glass ceilings. She served as San Francisco’s first female district attorney and was California’s first woman of colour to be elected attorney general.
Her background in criminal justice could help the Biden administration tackle the issues of racial equality and policing after the country was swept by protests this year. She is expected to be a top adviser on judicial nominations.
(With agency inputs)