Daughter of Caribbean Immigrant Enters Race for U.S. President

Author  GORDON WILLIAMS

The daughter of a Jamaican-born immigrant has entered the race for the highest political office in the United States.

 Webp.net resizeimage 30Senator Kamala Harris, whose father Donald migrated from the Caribbean island to seek higher education, married herIndian-born mother and had two daughters, last month announced she is running as a Democratic candidate for U.S. president. Sister Maya is her campaign chair.

Harris, 54, who became the first African American attorney general of California and,in 2016, was elected the second black female U.S. senator, originally made the announcement on Jan. 21 on the ABC television program “Good Morning America”. The same day she released a social media video announcing her candidacyand also tweeted: “I'm running for president. Let's do this together.”

On Jan. 27 Harris officially launched her campaign at a rally in her hometown Oakland, California, promising to bring honor to the office.

“I will lead with integrity and I will speak the truth,” she told the estimated crowd of 20,000, which repeatedly chanted “Kamala!, Kamala!”

During the rally, Harrisurged Americans to demand a U.S. system fair for all by quoting lyrics of late Jamaican reggae superstar Bob Marley.

“Get up, stand up and don’t give up the fight,” she said.

PIONEER

Harris’s announcementcame on the day Americans celebrate the legacy of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and during the week marking the 47th year the late African American Congresswoman Shirley Chisholmdecided to run for U.S. president.Chisholm’s parents were also Caribbean immigrants. The logo for Harris’s campaign are red and yellow, the same colors on the campaign buttons used by Chisholm during her run. Hercampaign theme is: “Kamala Harris for the people”.

When Harris was asked how she viewed herself, considering her background of being the African American child of Caribbean and Asian immigrants, she replied: “I describe myself as a real American.”

Harris, who pronounces her first name “Comma-la”, is hoping to survive multiple Democratic Party primary elections,which could include more than a dozen candidates. She is embracing the challenge.

“I think it will be a robust and healthy conversation,” Harris told “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Jan. 23.

If she succeeds, Harris will likely face incumbent Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 2020 election. Harris has blasted Trump for what she called his divisive policies, including those against immigrants.

“America,” she said in Oakland, “we are better than this.”

BOOKS

Last monthHarris released two publications– a children’s book titled “SUPERHEROES Are Everywhere” and the biography “The Truths We Hold – An American Journey”.“SUPERHEROES” pointed to key influences, including her father, who she said gave her confidence to take on tough challenges. “Truths” is seen as an effort to familiarize broader U.S. with Harris’sbackground, including her Caribbean roots.

She reportedly will make her campaign headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. Harris agreed to appear at a well-publicized CNN town hall meeting late January in Iowa, a bellwether state.It was viewed as a moveto establish a national foothold. Harris repeatedly credited her upbringing for her drive to make life better in the U.S.

“My parents came here believing in a dream … for themselves and their children,” she told the town hall. “That has informed in many ways how I think about my country. I love my country.”

Harris’s record as a state prosecutor makes a solid case that she’s tough on crime and pro gender equality. She’s also advocating for financial fairness, which she claims is escaping many Americans.

“This economy is not working for working people,” Harris told “Maddow”.

Feedback indicatesher candidacy has gained early traction. California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu backed Harris the day after her speech in Oakland.

“She embraces the future, not the past, and is the person we need to move America forward,” read part of a tweet by Lieu.

According to a Quinnipiac poll last month, more than 90 percent of Democrats who know about Harris view her favorably, particularly among Democratic activists.

Meanwhile, her final potential opponent is struggling. A Pew Research Center poll last month showed 47 percent of Americans believe Trump, now in his third year as president,won’t be a successful in the office, while 29 percent think he will be.A NBC-Wall Street Journal poll revealed 63 percent think the U.S. “is off on the wrong track” under the  leadership of Trump, whoHarris called “irresponsible,” especially when he chooses to govern via social media platform “Twitter”.

“America,” she said in Oakland, “we are better than this.”

CLASH

However, political observers are already predicting a possible clash of philosophies between Harris and some in her partywho may, they argue, see her as a prosecutor who supports a justice system that has been traditionally unfair to minorities and women. She is also “personally” against the death penalty, a point Republicans are sure to use in their attacks. Harris counteracts that by pledging criminal justice reform.

“My entire career has been focused on keeping people safe,” she told GMA.

“It is probably one of the things that motivates me more than anything else.”

The U.S. has already had a glimpse of Harris’s style. She has been incisive as a senate, especiallyas a member of the Intelligence Committee. Her bold approach is partly credited to her father, now a university professor. She plans to seize the opportunity.

“This is a moment in time that I feel a sense of responsibility to stand up and fight for the best of who we are,”Harris told GMA.

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