“I may be the first woman in this post, but I won’t be the last!”, said Kamala Harris on November 7. Joe Biden’s running mate officially becomes, Wednesday, January 20, the first woman and first person of color to become the US vice president. Mixed race, charismatic, relatively new in politics, who is the one that has sometimes been called Obama in the feminine?
Kamala Harris was born in California 56 years ago and it is in this state on the west coast of the United States that she has built her entire career. We go first to his elementary school, in the Berkeley hills near San Francisco. A small school where the portrait of Kamala Harris is now painted on a wall. It’s a “model”, says 11-year-old Lily, who plays in the backyard. “She’s really cool and it’s motivating.”
“She represents what you can achieve by going to this school, being a woman and even being a woman of color.”Lily, 11, attends the same elementary school as Kamala Harris
In the early 1970s, this was a rather white neighborhood. Kamala Harris, daughter of an Indian and a Jamaican who came to study in California, lives in a black neighborhood. She benefits from a desegregation program: a bus takes her here every day. Carole Porter, childhood friend of the new vice-president, took this bus with her: “She might not have had the opportunity to be where she is today if it hadn’t been for this bus. She listened to lessons very carefully. She also had a shape. of natural leadership. She was an excellent mentor. She had for example taken under her wing the adopted daughter of a neighbor “. This neighbor worked on the first floor of a house now painted yellow in the West Berkeley neighborhood.
The Harris family lived upstairs, well, not the father because Kamala’s parents divorced. The economist and biologist met while activating for civil rights at the university alongside Aubrey Labrie, who is now 83 years old. “Kamala calls me Uncle Aubrey because I was a friend of his parents, tells the octogenarian. We were doing demonstrations together. Kamala’s mother took her to boycott actions of segregating companies and Kamala still has that concern for justice today. I am proud of what she has accomplished. “
What Kamala Harris accomplished was a career as a glass ceiling breaker. Inspired by her mother, she enlisted the support of local Democratic caciques and became the first woman of color to be elected district attorney for San Francisco in 2003, then attorney general of California in 2010. Louise Renne, former director of legal services for San Francisco Francisco had recruited her early in her career. “Kamala can be tough when you have to be tough. She’s thoughtful but she’s also very caring, says Louise Renne. The first day we had adoption procedures, Kamala said to me: ‘Louise, I have soft toys for the children and their families’, it showed me someone who understood the emotion of this. moment”.
From her years as a prosecutor, Kamala Harris highlights her progressive record: refusal to request the death penalty, reintegration program for ex-prisoners. Anti-racist associations blame him for his passivity in cases of police shootings on black men. “I can tell you that in the office the progressives didn’t like him, says Chris Tiedemann, former assistant attorney general of California. She was a bad administrator and she was very reluctant to sue big companies. I have a close colleague who had files on tobacco companies targeting minors. He couldn’t continue. She didn’t want to do anything that could harm her career “
Kamala Harris’ ambition takes her to Washington. In 2016, she became the first woman of South Asian descent to be elected Senator (from California). She is noted for her close interrogations of ministers and senior officials before embarking on the primary. “She asked good questions, but did she bring money to California? Did she help us with the Covid? The answer is no, loose Loretta Sanchez, former Democratic representative, beaten by Kamala Harris for the seat of senator for California. Out of four years in the Senate, she spent two campaigning for the presidential election. She doesn’t have a lot of experience at the federal level. But she’s smart and if she works on her files, I have high hopes that she will be successful. “
A success story that has been written for six years alongside her husband Doug Emhoff whose children call Kamala Harris “Momala”, image of a modern blended family. He left his law firm to become a second gentleman before perhaps becoming a first gentleman one day. Given the age of Joe Biden, 78, it is conceivable that he will not reappear in four years, potentially offering the last glass ceiling for Kamala Harris to break, that of the White House.