Kamala Harris, former presidential hopeful and newly announced vice presidential pick for Joe Biden in 2020, was born in Oakland, California, to two immigrant parents: an Indian-born mother Shyamala Gopalan
and Jamaican-born father Donald Harris
Shyamala Gopalan and Donald Harris separated when Ms Harris was five. Raised primarily by her Hindu single mother, a cancer researcher and a civil rights activist, Kamala, Maya and Shyamala were known as “Shyamala and the girls”.
Her mother made sure her two daughters were aware of their background.
Both of Harris’ parents came to UC Berkeley for graduate school and unexpectedly found themselves staying because of each other.
“Shyamala Gopalan was the precocious daughter of an Indian diplomat and a women’s rights activist in the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu. After graduating from the University of Delhi at age 19, she moved to Berkeley to pursue a doctorate in nutrition and endocrinology, having never set foot in the U.S. before. Shyamala Gopalan, passed away in 2009 of colon cancer
Donald Harris also excelled at a young age, graduating from the University College of the West Indies in Jamaica before coming to Berkeley.
The two didn’t meet in the classroom but amid the protests that convulsed campus in the 60’s. On Sundays, they gathered with a group of like minded students to discuss the black writers overlooked by the university curriculum and debate about politics, decolonization and activism..He was a prominent professor at Stanford.