On Saturday, former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julián Castro announced his bid for the 2020 presidential run. So far only Castro, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Congresswoman for Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard have confirmed their 2020 presidential bids. But many speculate that Senator Kamala Harris of California will also be entering the bid by the end of the month. It is believed that she will be making her announcement either on or around Martin Luther King Day. The New Yorker even listed her among “Thirteen Women Who Should Think About Running for President in 2020” back in 2016. Here are a few things to know about the senator who could potentially become our first black female president!
She has experience as Attorney General.
Not only was Harris appointed as District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2010 and then served as the 32nd Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2017, but she’s also the first woman AND POC in U.S. history to hold those positions.
Her parents are immigrants and former activists.
Harris was born and raised in Oakland California. Her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris is of Tamil Indian descent while her father Donald Harris is Jamaican. Both migrated to the states in the 60s and attended grad school at the University of California at Berkeley. They shared a love of activism that they eventually taught to their two daughters. In fact, Harris claims that her parents inspired her to get into civil rights and public service.
“I grew up with a stroller-eye view of the civil rights movement, and often I joke that as a child I was surrounded by adults marching and shouting for this thing called justice. My younger sister, Maya, and I grew up around adults who were committed to service and community involvement,” it reads on her site.
She initially wanted to be a prosecutor to help marginalized groups.
“I began my career in the Alameda Country District Attorney’s office. I wanted to be a prosecutor because I believe that those most likely to be preyed upon in our society are those that are most vulnerable — children, immigrants, women, the poor, people subject to hate crimes. My work is grounded in the belief that a crime against any one of us is a crime against all of us. Which is why when someone is charged with a crime, the formal complaint doesn’t read the name of the victim versus the defendant. It reads “the PEOPLE vs. the defendant,” it reads on her site.
She addresses racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
View this post on Instagram
One year ago today, Trump enacted an executive order that restricted refugees from Muslim-majority countries. This executive order sparked a fury of protests against anti-Muslim and refugee rhetoric. That night and throughout the weekend, people rallied at airports protesting this move that went against our American values. Lawyers, like the ones below, camped out at airports to help individuals who were detained at ports-of-entry. One year later, we continue to stand strong against those that try to marginalize who we are as a nation.
Harris has recognized that the criminal justice system disproportionately targets minorities: Mainly Black and Latino men. Last year she endorsed a bipartisan criminal-justice reform package, the FIRST STEP Act, “which seeks to reduce recidivism and mass incarceration by expanding the pool of inmates eligible for early release and increasing judicial autonomy in deterring sentences.”
She believes Americans should see themselves reflected in politics.
When asked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this past Friday why she would want to be president, Harris responded saying that our country needs leaders who have a “vision of our country in which everyone can see themselves.”
She has made her voice heard.
Can you think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body?pic.twitter.com/lDcXPZ56hX
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) September 6, 2018
Harris received praised after her cross-examination of Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein during his testimony about James Comey.
Her abortion questions to U.S. Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, during the Kavanaugh hearings this past fall practically left him speechless. The Supreme Court had been challenging him on his views about abortion and racial inequality but when Harris asked if him: “Can you think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions over the male body?” The entire room was left silent.
She doesn’t support Donald Trump’s Border Wall — at all.
Not only does Harris not support the wall, but in a recent appearance on The View, she promised to challenge Trump’s lies as he continues to seek congressional funding for his wall. She believes that the wall proposal is being backed up by phony claims and is really more of a propaganda push by Trump.
“We’re two years into an administration that has proven itself that there are statements that are being made that are simply just not the truth, and are frankly — and are frankly often, especially leading up to the midterm, pardon the term, propaganda,” she said. “We have to call it what it is, and again, the American public deserves better. We have enough problems, one doesn’t need to create a problem.”
Harris believes that the border wall is merely a vanity project for the president. “This issue is about a vanity project for this president, and it is a problem of his own making,” she added. “Listen, when I travel this country, folks have plenty enough problems that they need their president to focus on instead of a wall. By the way, because I was a prosecutor for many years, including the attorney general of California, (and) I specialize in transnational criminal organizations. That wall ain’t gonna stop them.”
She supports LGBTQ rights.
In efforts to end the use of “gay panic” and “trans panic,” Harris joined Democratic lawmakers in the Senate and House last year and introduced the Gay and Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act of 2018, that no longer allows the argument that a victim’s orientation or gender identity provoked a defendant’s violent reaction as an excuse.
“There is no place for prejudice against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender in our country,” Sen. Harris said in a public statement. “The so-called gay and trans ‘panic’ defense allows people to carry out hate crimes and denies justice to the victims of those crimes. I was proud to be part of the effort to outlaw in California and am committed to banning it nationwide.”
She’s a published author.
View this post on Instagram
Today’s the day! Both my books, #TheTruthsWeHold and #SuperheroesAreEverywhere, are available now. I’m excited to share these stories with you and am looking forward to seeing so many of you at my book events in Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco → prh.com/kamalaharris
In fact, Harris now has three published books and is currently doing a book tour for her latest: Truths We Hold Hold: An American Journey, a memoir about her childhood, being the daughter of immigrant parents, and the urgent political matters that have risen in recent years that are in desperate need of being addressed. She’s also written a children’s book called “Superheroes are Everywhere” and a book in 2009 called “Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor’s Plan to Make Us Safer,” a breakdown on how to fix the U.S. criminal justice system.