Kamala Harris’ family has played a tremendous role in her success. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was one of her biggest inspirations and one of the reasons Harris ran for president. Her sister, Maya Harris, helped run her presidential campaign. Harris’ father, Donald J. Harris, also played a pivotal role in shaping Harris’ life as well as her impressive political career.
As Harris told The Washington Post, both of her parents were activists. Growing up in such a home had a major impact on her as a child. “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,” said Harris. “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.”
Kamala Harris' father was born in Jamaica
As noted by Town & Country, Donald was born in 1938. He moved from Jamaica to the U.S. in the 1960s, where he earned a Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley. In her memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, Harris wrote that her parents “met and fell in love at Berkeley while participating in the civil rights movement.” Donald later became an American citizen and a professor. According to his bio at Stanford University, where he taught economics and is now an emeritus professor, Donald has earned several awards and fellowships throughout his career.
Harris’ parents divorced when she was 7 years old, and her mother gained full custody of her children. In spite of being raised mostly by her mother, Harris still credits both of her parents with her history-making success. “It’s because of them and the folks who also took to the streets to fight for justice that I am where I am,” she wrote on Instagram. “They laid the path for me, as only the second Black woman ever elected to the United States Senate.”
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