It’s been months since former Vice President Joe Biden won the presumptive Democratic nomination for president of the United States. And ever since then, people around the country have been waiting to hear who he’d choose as his running mate. Excitement grew even more when Biden announced that his running mate would be a woman. Why is that such a big deal? It’s a big deal because in the entire history of the United States, only two women have been selected as a running mate of a major party, and the first didn’t happen until 1984—that’s nearly two hundred years after the first US election. Well, it was a long wait, but Biden formally announced his running mate will be California senator and former presidential hopeful Kamala Harris. As the third female to ever be picked as a US presidential running mate of a major party, but the first of African- and South Asian-American descent, Harris has already made history. What do we know about Harris? Here are five facts about the running mate.
1. She was born in Oakland, California.
2. Harris’ parents are Jamaican and Indian immigrants.
3. Being the first of something isn’t new to Harris. She was the first female to be sworn in as District Attorney of San Francisco in 2004, and became the first South Asian-American attorney general of California when she was sworn in in 2011. In 2017, she became the first South Asian-American female to be sworn in as a Democratic senator from California (she was only the second African-American to serve in the role).
4. “Kamala” is a Sanskrit word that means “lotus,” and Devi, her middle name, is a Sanskrit word that means “goddess.”
5. Harris announced her bid for president of the United States in January of 2019, but ended it approximately a year later. Eight months later presumptive Democratic nominee of the president of the United States Joe Biden announced that Harris is his running mate.