As she formally accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination on Wednesday (19) to run alongside Joe Biden, Harris spoke passionately about how her mother Shyamala Gopalan taught her the importance of fighting for justice.
Harris’ uncle Balachandran Gopalan said Shyamala — a cancer researcher who left India for the United States to study — instilled such values in the 55-year-old US senator and her sister Maya from an early age.
“She told her daughters, ‘It’s not enough if you become a lawyer… your aim should be, yes, how am I helping society — not only society, minorities, the lesser privileged’,” the 79-year-old academic said at his home in New Delhi.
“That’s why neither of my nieces who are good lawyers became private lawyers. They both went into public law.”
Harris — the first black woman on a major party’s White House ticket and a former California attorney general — would play a key role in Biden’s administration, her uncle predicted.
“She’ll be a very, very active vice president — more active than any other vice president in US history,” Gopalan said.
Shyamala was only 19 when she arrived in California in 1960 from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu to pursue her studies.
Kamala was born in Oakland, California in 1964 to Shyamala and Donald Harris, an economics professor.
After Kamala’s parents separated when she was about five years old, her mother raised her and her younger sister.