(13 Aug 2020) When U.S. Presidential Candidate Joe Biden announced Kamala Harris as his running mate, her maternal relatives in India were overjoyed.
Harris' uncle, Gopalan Balachandran, lives in New Delhi.
He recalled that Harris' mother had taught her to never be "content with what you have," and always strive for more.
Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, often focuses on her identity as a Black woman.
At times during her political career, as she ran for California attorney general and senator, some didn't realize she was of Indian descent.
In her first remarks as Biden's running mate on Wednesday, she spoke of her mother's roots but described herself as the "first Black woman" to be nominated for the vice presidency on a major party ticket.
Balachandran said Harris was very close to her Black roots because she went to a predominantly African-American school and grew up with friends from the community.
Still, the prospect of a U.S. vice president with Indian heritage has delighted South Asians worldwide and put the spotlight on Kamala as the first person of Asian descent on a major party presidential ticket.
Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group of eligible voters.
More than 11 million Asian Americans will be able to vote in November, according to a May report by the Pew Research Center.
Harris has called her late mother, Shyamala Gopalan, her biggest influence and frequently invoked stories about the cancer researcher and civil rights activist who died in 2009.
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