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Kamala Harris Sister: Get to Know Maya Harris, Kamala’s Right-Hand

Get to know Maya Harris, the influential sister of Kamala Harris – her background, career, and how she has shaped Kamala's path to success.
by Robyn Kerkhof | Nov 2 2023
Credits: Melina Mara / Washington Post

In the world of politics, Kamala Harris has become a household name. As the first female Vice President-elect of the United States, she has made history in many ways.

But do you know much about Kamala Harris’ sister, Maya Harris? Maya Harris is a highly accomplished woman in her own right and has been a strong accomplice to Kamala throughout their lives.

In this article, we will delve into Maya Harris’ background, career, and impact on Kamala’s journey to success.

Kamala Harris’s Early Life and  Rise to the White House

Kamala Harris is a renowned American politician and lawyer who was born on October 20, 1964, in Oakland, California. She grew up in a household that celebrated her Indian and Jamaican heritage.

Alongside her younger sister Maya, the two sisters formed a strong bond from a young age, supporting each other throughout their lives. Kamala’s political career began as a district attorney in San Francisco, eventually serving as California’s Attorney General and a U.S. Senator. 

Kamala Harris launched her historic presidential campaign in 2019, in which Maya served as a campaign chairperson. Although she did not secure the Democratic Party’s nomination, she gained widespread recognition for her formidable skills and progressive policies.

In August 2020, Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, chose Kamala Harris as his running mate, making her the first woman of South Asian and African American descent to be on a major party’s presidential ticket. Together, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 presidential election, paving the way for her historic inauguration as Vice President on January 20, 2021.

Kamala Harris’ ascent to the vice presidency represents a groundbreaking milestone in American history and underscores the changing landscape of politics.

Kamala Harris’ Inspiring Book: The Truths About Her Past

Besides her astonishing political achievements, Kamala Harris is also a bestseller writer since she released her biography titled “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey” in 2019. 

The book dives into her personal and professional experiences, providing readers with a profound glimpse into her personal and political life. In this memoir, Harris shares her experiences, values, and the vision that shaped her journey that later would lead her to become the first female Vice President-elect of the United States.

Divided into four sections, the book explores Harris’ early life, her career as a prosecutor, her tenure as California’s Attorney General, and her role as a U.S. Senator. “The Truths We Hold” sheds light on important issues such as criminal justice reform, racial inequality, and the fight for equal opportunities.

It is a testament to Harris’ belief in the power of truth, justice, and the transformative impact individuals can have in building a more inclusive America.

Meet Maya Harris, Kamala’s Sister and best Supporter 

Maya Harris is the younger sister of Kamala Harris. Born on January 30, 1967, she has always been close to Kamala, and together they have supported each other’s endeavors. 

“I think most people who know Maya will tell you she’s one of the smartest people they know.”
Kamala Harris

After graduating from Stanford Law School in 1992, Maya began her career in corporate law while also teaching law school courses. At the age of 29, she took on the role of Dean at Lincoln Law School, becoming one of the youngest-ever law school deans in the United States.

Following the footsteps of her mother, Maya ventured into the civil rights community, making a name for herself. She served as a senior associate at PolicyLink, an organization dedicated to civil rights, and as the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California, the largest affiliate of the ACLU in the country. Additionally, Maya held the position of vice president for democracy, rights, and justice at the Ford Foundation.

Throughout her career, Maya Harris dedicated her efforts to advocating for criminal justice reform and community policing. Her work has had a lasting impact on the pursuit of justice and equality.

Maya Harris’s contributions include editing the groundbreaking book, “The New Jim Crow,” written by her law school friend Michelle Alexander. This influential work serves as a powerful examination of contemporary civil rights issues.

Maya is married to Tony West, a prominent lawyer who served as the U.S. Associate Attorney General during the Obama administration, and together they have two daughters. 

Kamala and Maya Harris’s Inspiring Mother: A Trailblazing Scientist and Role Model

Kamala and Maya Harris draw inspiration from their mother, Shyamala Gopalan, who was a biomedical scientist, a breast cancer researcher, and a pioneering figure in the oncology field. Coincidentally, Gopalan earned her doctorate in the same year Kamala was born, fostering a spirit of intellectual pursuit and achievement within their family. 


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She married Donald Harris, a Jamaican economist and Stanford professor, but years later, Shyamala found herself raising her two daughters independently after she and Donald separated. As recounted in Kamala’s book, “The Truths We Hold,” this tight-knit 

trio came to be affectionately referred to as “Shyamala and the girls.” 

Growing up, Kamala and Maya were exposed to activism through their parents, who took them to civil rights demonstrations and introduced them to influential figures such as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and civil rights leader Constance Baker Motley. These experiences, along with the guidance of strong role models, instilled in Kamala and Maya a deep sense of justice and ultimately motivated them to pursue a career in Law.

Tragically, Shyamala passed away at the age of 70 after suffering a colon cancer. In her memory and as per her wishes, Kamala Harris carried out her mother’s legacy by requesting donations to be made to the organization Breast Cancer Action, took her ashes to Chennai, India, and scattered Shyamala’s ashes in the waters of the Indian Ocean.

Maya Harris, the sister of Kamala Harris, is much more than just a family member. She is her right hand, her confessor, her best friend, and her best ally. Maya is a respected professional in her own right, who has played a significant role in shaping Kamala’s journey to success, being next to her. Together, Kamala and Maya exemplify the strength and determination that can be found in a powerful sisterhood. 

If you want to delve deeper into their remarkable stories, don’t miss Kamala’s book, “The Truths We Hold,” and also explore our hand-picked collection to discover other #1 New York Times Best Sellers for further inspiration and insight. Start your free trial today and embark on a rewarding reading experience.

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