FEARLESS FIGHTER. Democratic senator Kamala Harris of
California waves to the crowd while formally launching her
presidential campaign at a rally in her hometown of Oakland,
California. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
From The Asian Reporter, V29, #03 (February 4, 2019),
Senator Kamala Harris says the powerful seek
to divide America
By Juana Summers
The Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. ó Democratic presidential candidate Kamala
Harris said those in power are trying to turn people against
each other, which she says is "not our America."
Harris, a first-term U.S. senator from California who
recently announced her candidacy, rallied supporters outside
City Hall in Oakland, her hometown and where she served as a
prosecutor before becoming the state attorney general. The event
was the formal kickoff for her campaign.
"We are here because the American Dream and our American
democracy are under attack and on the line like never before,"
she said. "And we are here at this moment in time because we
must answer a fundamental question: Who are we? Who are we as
Americans? So, letís answer that question to the world and each
other right here and right now. America, we are better than
Harris also said that racism, sexism, anti-Semitism,
homophobia, and transphobia are real in the U.S. "They are
age-old forms of hate with new fuel. And we need to speak that
truth so we can deal with it," she said.
Harris cast herself as the kind of leader who can unify the
country and would fight for the needs of all Americans.
"Iím running for president because I love my country. Iím
running to be a president by the people. Of the people. For all
the people," she said and echoed the words she has used in
courtrooms and has adopted as her campaignís slogan: "My whole
life, Iíve only had one client: The people."
The daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, Harris
entered the race on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Campaign aides
say she has drawn inspiration from Shirley Chisholm, who in 1972
became the first black woman to run for president from a major
If Harris were to win the White House, she would be the first
African-American woman and first person of Asian descent to be
Her first news conference as a candidate was on the campus of
Howard University, the historically black college in the
nationís capital that she attended as an undergraduate. Later
she was in South Carolina speaking to members of the Alpha Kappa
Alpha sorority, of which she is a member.
Harrisí campaign is expected to highlight her career as a
prosecutor as part of her rationale for seeking the presidency.
Harris was the first black woman elected district attorney in
California, as well as the first woman, first African American,
and first Asian American to hold that job. Some of her tenure as
attorney general, particularly relating to criminal justice, has
come under early scrutiny.
Harris is among the first major Democrats to jump into what
is expected to be a crowded 2020 presidential contest.
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey has entered the race.
Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten
Gillibrand of New York have set up exploratory committees.
Former Maryland representative John Delaney and Julian Castro,
federal housing chief under President Barack Obama and a former
San Antonio mayor, are also in the race.
Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota,
and Bernie Sanders of Vermont may also run.
In her Oakland speech, Harris said she sees this year as an
"inflection point" in American history and that she is best
positioned to unite a divided country.
"Even though we have powerful forces trying to sow hate and
division, the truth is that, as Americans, we have much more in
common than what separates us," according to her prepared
After the rally, Harris made her first trip to Iowa as a
presidential candidate. In the weeks before last Novemberís
elections, Harris travelled to the leadoff caucus state to
campaign on behalf of Democrats, and also visited other
The campaign will be based in Baltimore and led by Juan
Rodriguez, who managed her 2016 senate campaign. Aides say a
second office will be located in Oakland.