US Vice president elect Kamala Harris on Wednesday shared a photograph of her mother on Instagram and wrote a note on her mother's influence during her growing years. Her mother Shyamala Gopalan had migrated to the US from Tamil Nadu in India, while her father, Donald J Harris, moved to the US from Jamaica. When Harris won the vice presidential race in November, she gave tribute to her mother who, she said, had come to US in pursuit of the American dream.
"My mother always used to say, “don’t sit around and complain about things, do something.” I’ve tried to follow that advice every day and live by the example she set," Harris said in her recent post on Instagram. She said that she was born in Oakland where she was raised by her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris. "..One of the few women of color to have a position as a scientist at the University of California, Berkeley," she wrote.
Speaking about her mother, Harris said it was because of her that she was raised in a community where they were taught to see a world beyond just "ourselves". "To be conscious and compassionate about the struggles of all people," she wrote.
When Harris clinched the victory in the US election in November, she spoke about her mother's influence. "And to the woman most responsible for my presence here today my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who is always in our hearts. When she came here from India at the age of 19, maybe she didn't quite imagine this moment," Harris said, adding that she believed in an America where a woman of colour becoming the vice president is possible.
Harris was born in Oaklandand studied at Howard University, a 'historically black college' in Washington DC, and studied law at UC Hastings.
In one of her speeches in August 2020, Harris took a trip down the memory lane and mentioned her "long walks" in Madras (now Chennai) with her grandfather who would tell her about the "heroes" responsible for the birth of the world's largest democracy.