Updated: January 21, 2021 4:00:05 pm
Kamala Harris, who scripted history by becoming the first-ever woman Vice President of the US, has credited her Indian mother for showing faith in her and always reminding her two daughters that “though we may be the first, we should not be the last.”
Harris remembered her late mother Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher and civil rights activist from India, saying she has always carried that lesson from her mother with her throughout her career from serving as the first woman District Attorney of San Francisco, to the first woman Attorney General of California, and the first woman of colour to represent California in the United States Senate.
Harris, 56, created history on Wednesday by becoming the first-ever woman Vice President of the United States. She is also the first female, first Black and first South Asian American vice president.
“My story is the story of millions of Americans. My mother Shyamala Gopalan arrived in the United States from India. She raised my sister Maya and me to know that though we may be the first, we should not be the last,” Harris said at the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s official Asian American inaugural ball, hosted virtually by IMPACT, the leading Indian American advocacy and political action committee on Wednesday.
“Your continued faith in me has brought me to this moment,” she said.
She thanked IMPACT and RUN AAPI, an Asian American voter outreach organisation, for their leadership, asserting that the contributions of the Asian Pacific American community are woven throughout the fabric of the US.
Harris said when she accepted the nomination to be the Vice President, she did so fully committed to realising the vision of a stronger, more united America that provides an opportunity for all, a vision shared by President Joe Biden and one they will “strive to fulfil”.
She said both of them know that there is nothing that cannot be accomplished if done together.
“We are committed to working with you in the days and months ahead to rebuild our nation in a way that lifts up all Americans,” she said.
Before becoming Biden’s running mate, Harris had her own presidential dreams, which she abandoned due to lack of the financial resources to continue her campaign.
She’s one of the only three Asian Americans in the Senate and she’s the first Indian-American ever to serve in the upper chamber. During the Obama era, she was popularly called the “female Obama”.
Harris has been married to Douglas Emhoff, a lawyer, for the past six years. She is the stepmother of two children, Ella and Cole who are her “endless source of love and pure joy.”
Just before Harris was sworn in as US vice president, she posted a moving video on her Twitter as a tribute to the women “who came before her” and her mother who moved to the US from India to pursue the big American dream.
“I’m here today because of the women who came before me. And to the woman most responsible for my presence here today – my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who is always in our hearts,” Harris said.
“When she came here from India at the age of 19, maybe she didn’t quite imagine this moment. But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible. So, I’m thinking about her and about the generations of women–Black women. Asian, White, Latina, and Native American women throughout our nation’s history who have paved the way for this moment tonight,” she said.
“Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty, and justice for all, including the Black women, who are too often overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy,” she said.
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