Photo: Kamala Harris, then San Francisco’s district attorney, laughs with Willie Brown at an event in September 2005.
Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle 2005
The Internet never forgets, so the saying goes !
Well, as millions across the world got excited at the news that Joe Biden and his running mate senatir Kamala Harris had defeated ‘racist’ Donald Trump, old news links were shared online to let the world know the journey the history making Harris had traveled.
Of her amazing journey stories, the piece of information that stood out the most was her affair when she was 29 with San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who was then 60. The couple met in 1994.
According to reports, Brown was still married to his wife Blanche Vitero, despite the fact that they were separated since 1982.
Why does Kamala Harris play up her black identity more than her Indian one? Author Arnab Ray explains
Harris broke up with brown in 1995 after he was elected as mayor, but the duo remained as political allies.
When Brown got to know Harris was running for president in 2019, he wrote a column in the San Francisco Chronicle stating, “Yes, we dated. It was more than 20 years ago. Yes, I may have influenced her career by appointing her to two state commission when I was Assembly speaker.”
Brown was speaker of the California State Assembly for 15 years. It was during the same period during which, he appointed Harris to the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the California Medical Assistance Commission.
On the contrary, Harris called Brown an “albatross hanging around my neck”. She told SF Weekly in 2003, “His career is over. I will be alive and kicking for the next 40 years. I do not owe him a thing.”
Fast forward to 2020, 55-year-old California senator becomes just the third woman to be selected as the vice president on a major party ticket. Then-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 and New York Representative Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 were the other two.
A fierce critic-turned ally of her former rival Biden, Harris had her own presidential dreams, which she suspended by the end of 2019, saying she lacked the financial resources to continue her campaign. She is one of only three Asian Americans in the Senate and she’s the first Indian-American ever to serve in the chamber.
Brown in an interview with ABC7 News said, “Kamala Harris is such an impressive person on the podium. Biden should let her do her thing. It would be like someone trying to control Tiger Woods at his zenith.”
“I give her an A ,” he added.
Brown also told Fox Business that Harris would be side-tracked as a ‘second banana’. He said, “So I was fearful that a talented person like Kamala Harris, who has the potential to be president of this nation — if she ever got side-tracked by being the second banana to a president, she may not be able to demonstrate those skills. And that’s what I was concerned about.”
Harris is known for many firsts. She has been a county district attorney; the district attorney for San Francisco – the first woman and first African-American and Indian-origin to be elected to the position.
She would have several firsts in her role as vice president also: the first woman, the first African-American woman, the first Indian-American and the first Asian-American.
Harris was born to two immigrant parents: a Black father and an Indian mother. Her father, Donald Harris, was from Jamaica, and her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher and civil rights activist from Chennai. She, however, defines herself simply as ‘American’.
What does Kamala Harris think of the ‘Free Kashmir’ movement?
After her parents divorced, Harris was raised primarily by her Hindu single mother. She says that her mother adopted black culture and immersed her two daughters – Kamala and her younger sister Maya – in it. Harris grew up embracing her Indian culture, but living a proudly African American life.