CALIFORNIA – California Senator Kamala Harris, who is of Jamaican Heritage, announced her official run for president on Monday, January 21, 2019.
Harris, the product of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father – both civil rights activist, was educated at Howard University in Washington, and the University of California.
She started out as deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California, then became district attorney of San Francisco, where she focused on crime prevention. She later became California’s attorney general and, in 2016, she was voted a California senator.
Harris chose MLK Day, to announce her plan to run for president in honor of her heroes Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to the US congress, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Her campaign theme “Kamala Harris for the people,” reflects the words she spoke each time she rose in the courtroom as a prosecutor.
As the California Senator has now announced her candidacy, interest will continue to grow around her little-known Jamaican heritage.
In a visit to Miami last year to support then Senator Bill Nelson, she and her sister Maya rubbed shoulders and posed for photos with a number of prominent Jamaican-Americans, including City of Miramar Commissioner Winston Barnes.
Barnes later remarked in a Facebook post, “She’s a very special lady and as Jamaican as they come…when I asked her where her dad was from, she said, “St Ann’s Bay,” so I asked, “What you know about St Ann’s Bay?” the response, “How you mean man? I know there growing up.” That’s no practiced response!”
The Senator’s father Donald Harris, who had significant impact on her character and formation of her world view, made sure that his daughters knew about their Jamaican heritage by regularly sharing the family’s history and frequent visits to Jamaica. (Source: Jamaica Global Online)
In a recent article in Jamaica Global Online, Donald J. Harris, Professor of Economics, Emeritus, Stanford University, Stanford, California, shared some of his Jamaican adventures with Kamala and her sister Maya.
“In Brown’s Town, we walked the streets during ‘market day’, chatted up the higglers in the market and were rewarded with plenty of ‘brawta’ (Jamaican word for bonus offerings). We checked out the location of the old Park School, which had become transformed into Brown’s Town Comprehensive High School, strolled into St. Mark’s church and graveyard, and traversed the road up to Orange Hill where my uncle Newton had taken over the family property and started a limestone mining and brick producing operation, in addition to the cattle, fruit and pimento farming of earlier times.
We played around on the lovely white sand of the beach at Dry Harbour and in the forceful but soothing waters of the world famous Dunns River Falls.
In Kingston, we visited the campus of the former UCWI, today The University of the West Indies, In Port Antonio we visited my high school alma mater at Titchfield. We trekked over to the ruins at ‘Folly’ and to the ‘Blue Hole’, and took a swim at the exquisite little beach tucked away in a little cove at Fairy Hill.”
Donald Harris also shared with his daughters “the contradictions of economic and social life in a ‘poor’ country; the striking juxtaposition of extreme poverty and extreme wealth, and his efforts to help the government of Jamaica design a plan and appropriate policies to do something about the country’s conditions.
With this influence and involvement, it is little wonder that Senator Harris chose the path she did.
Today’s announcement that she is running for president continues to reflect the values of her past, and as she looks to 2020, she calls on her supporters to join with her in “The fight for the future of America.”