Kamala Harris’s Nomination is Met with Both Excitement and Hesitation

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(Photo credit: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP-Getty Images)

Kamala Harris endorses Joe Biden at one of his campaign rallies on March 9.

With the election right around the corner, Westridge’s students and faculty share their opinions about Kamala Harris and her historic nomination as the first woman of color running for vice president on a major ticket, as well as her past as a prosecutor.

“The idea of having a first woman Vice President is amazing,” said Sunday L. ’23, co-head of the Westridge Politics in Action club. “Even though we were hoping for a woman in the President seat, it’s still amazing, especially a woman of color.”

“[Harris] comes from a really interesting background; being Black on her dad’s side of the family and then with Indian immigrants on her mom’s side. It just brings a lot of interesting things to the table,” explained Sandy de Grijs, an Upper School History teacher. She added that she will definitely be discussing the election in her classes at Westridge.

Harris started her political career as a Deputy District Attorney of Alameda County, California, and in 2003, became the District Attorney. She started gaining momentum when she was elected as the San Francisco District Attorney, serving for nearly two terms when she then started campaigning for the Democratic ticket’s candidate in 2019. She later ended her campaign and was chosen by Joe Biden to be the Democrat’s nominee for Vice President.

The first woman to be nominated as Vice President on a major party ticket was Geraldine Ferraro in 1984. And the very first Black woman to run for Vice President was Charlotta Bass in 1952 on the Progressive Party ticket.

Katherine M. ’21, the co-leader of Young Democrats, thinks that while Harris’s nomination is exciting, we shouldn’t forget that she makes mistakes, too. “She can be a role model for young women and girls who might want to be President or Vice President one day. But it’s important to see her as an imperfect figure just as any other politician.”

In her hometown of Oakland, Harris announces her campaign. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Kamala’s past as a progressive prosecutor has been pushed into the limelight, and many people have found problems with it. Her opinions on criminal justice don’t line up with her actions when dealing with criminals, and many people haven’t gotten the justice they deserve because of her.

Kevin Cooper, a prisoner affected by Kamala Harris’s decisions, is a Black man who was charged for the murder of two people, even when not all the evidence pointed to him being involved. Kamala Harris made the decision to refrain from testing Kevin Cooper’s DNA to see if it matched the murderer’s DNA, which led to him being sentenced to death.

Sunday speaks to this as well. “We can’t forget [Harris’s] past as a prosecutor, but we also have to recognize the fact that the alternative is much worse.”

“Especially now, this year, it’s been hard to figure things out outside of the Westridge bubble,” Katherine continued. “I’m hopeful for her success as a strong woman of color who has been in the Senate. But it’s also incredibly important to see her as a whole person — to recognize the strides that she has made as a woman in politics, but to also recognize that she has flaws.”