Kamala Harris's Mom Will Be on Her Mind When She's Sworn In Next Month

Chelsey Sanchez
·2-min read
Photo credit: Nic Antaya - Getty Images
Photo credit: Nic Antaya - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

Speaking with Good Morning America today, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris revealed the one person she'll be thinking about when she is sworn in to office next month.

"I'll be thinking about my mother," said Harris, who will become the first female and the first Black and South Asian vice president of the United States in January. "But I feel a very big sense of responsibility. As I said recently, I will be the first, but I will not be the last. I was raised by a mother who said that to me all the time, 'Kamala, you may be the first to do many things—make sure you're not the last.' That's how I feel about this moment."

Harris's mother, Shyamala Gopalan, died at 70 in 2009.

The former California senator often invoked her mother on the campaign trail and in election victory speeches since.

"To the woman most responsible for my presence here today, my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who is always in our hearts," the VP-elect said in her November victory speech. "When she came here from India at the age of 19, she maybe didn't quite imagine this moment, but she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible."

In her lifetime, Gopalan had "a career as a brilliant breast cancer researcher," as noted in her obituary. Her work additionally took her to top research institutions like the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin, the Department of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, as well as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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