Kamala Harris Parents and Family - Things You Must Know



Alongside Joe Biden, Kamala Harris is bound to become the first female vice president in the history of the United States of America, when they assume office on January 20, 2021. The fact is, Kamala Harris became a definition of success and inspiration to many globally because she did not allow her immigrant status to hinder her dreams and ambitions. In the midst of it all, she had strong support from her family. Thus, who are her parents and family, things to know about them? 

As a little girl, Kamala grew up in Oakland, California. She attended her primary school, Notre-Dame-des-Neiges and Westmount High School both in Quebec, Canada. She will go on to enrol at Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Today, the 56-years-old American Politician and Attorney have lived up to her dreams from her journey into the U.S. Senate in 2017, to her VP nomination joint ticket in 2019 alongside Biden, which turned out victorious in the just-concluded US elections 2020. This historic victory has prompted many who want to know everything about Kamala Harris parents and family. 

Parents and Family, Things to Know About Them

Kamala Harris Parents Were Immigrants

Her parents had first met on campus in the University of California, Berkeley. On October 20, 1964, Kamala was born into the family of Donald J. Harris and Shyamala Gopalan in Oakland, California. It is important to note that none of her parents was initially natives of America. Her father, Donald is of Jamaican roots and had initially stepped foot in the U.S. for his graduate studies in economics.

On the other hand, her mother, Shyamala Gopalan is known as one of the brightest biologists in her prime. In 1958, a 19-years-old Shyamala arrived the United States from Tamil Nadu in India to pursue a career in nutrition and endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley. 


Her Parents Were Divorced

At the age of seven, Kamala's parents, Donald and Shyamala went their separate ways, with Shyamala and the kids moving to Montreal, Canada, whereas Donald lived in Palo Alto, where the kids visited him regularly on weekends. 

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Her Parents Were Strong Academics

Her father, Donald J. Harris first arrived the U.S. from British Jamaica in 1961 for his graduate study at the University of California, Berkeley - where he bagged a PhD in economics in 1966. He will later take a teaching job in different colleges in the United States, most notably Standford University where he retired as an emeritus professor in economics. 

Years later, Shyamala's hard work and brilliance as a biologist will lead her to conduct research on the progesterone receptor gene will be acknowledged as a breakthrough in breast cancer. Perhaps Shyamala was ahead of her future husband in their academic pursuit, having received her PhD in 1964 and Donald, later in 1966. 

After divorcing from Donald, Shymala and the kids, Kamala and younger sister, Maya Harris moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where she had accepted a research and teaching position at the McGill University-affiliated Jewish General Hospital. Also, she worked as a researcher at the University of Illinois and University of Wisconsin, until her death on  February 11, 2009.



Kamala Harris Husband is Her No. 1 Support System

In the past, U.S. politics have shown us vivid examples of the likes of Hilary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Ivanka Trump and other women acting as the backbone and support system of their husbands. In Harris case, it is interesting that the media is focused on her husband, Doug Emhoff who is a popular entertainment attorney, being her greatest cheerleader throughout her campaigns.





When it became certain that his beloved wife, Kamala will be gunning for the White House alongside, Joe Biden on the Democratic Party Presidential ticket, it was gathered that an excited Doug Emhoff embarked on a leave of absence to hit the campaign trail with Harris.  Also, on many instances he has been spotted filming Kamala, defending her from stampeded zones, not forgetting that he took selfies with his own personal fans. For a political niche that has not produced any female president nor vice-president prior to this time, it will not be out of place to laud Doug Emhoff for believing and standing by his beloved wife, in chasing and achieving her dreams.


The couple first met on a blind date in 2013. After that meeting, Doug Emhoff who was a divorcee admitted that he was spellbound by her beauty and had lots of admiration for the then attorney general of California, and sent her an honest mail, which revealed his real and pure intentions for her, "I’m too old to play games or hide the ball,”. "I really like you.” So, it was how they ended up tying the knot the following year in a civil ceremony at the Santa Barbara courthouse in 2014. Though Kamala has no child of hers currently, she is the proud step-mom of Cole and Ella, children from Doug's previous marriage.

Her Sister Maya Acts as Her Adviser

It is noteworthy to mention that Kamala is three years older than Maya but considers her a great confidant whose advices has yielded fruitful in her life.

Maya, herself an attorney, was campaign chairwoman of her sister’s 2020 presidential bid. This comes on the heels of serving as a senior policy adviser on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. She presided over her court wedding to Doug Emhoff.

She Learnt About Civil Rights From Her Maternal Grandfather


As kids, Kamala and Maya were attached to their maternal relatives and they spent much time visiting them compared to their father's relations in Jamaican, where they seldom visited but admits she has remained in touch. On some of those occasions she went visiting grandpa P. V. Gopalan, a retired Indian civil servant, she engaged him in discussions that shaped her progressive views on democracy and women's rights which impressed her. Also, she acknowledges her grandfather, P.V. Gopalan as the man who influenced her political views and this saw Kamala and Maya going to civil rights marches at that early stage in their life. This helped in the pursuit of a better society and it shows in their political engagements.