NRI Dunia
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Mother instilled in me core values of America: Kamala Harris

Indian-origin Senator and Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris has said her mother instilled in her that the core values of America are not just to strive for success and but also to leave the country better than they found it.

And this is what she strives to be, Harris said during the launch of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) for Biden, a group supporting the Democratic nominee for the November presidential election.

Harris, 55, is of both African and Indian descent, with her father being from Jamaica and mother Shyamala Gopalan from Tamil Nadu. In public addresses, Harris has regularly reflected on the deep influence that her mother had on her.

“When my mother arrived in the United States from India, she understood that the core of her new home in America is that we not only strive for success, but to leave our country better than we found it,” she told the AAPI event.

“That’s the approach she instilled in me, and I know many of you are working towards that same end,” she said.

In a short video release later in the day on the occasion of Women’s Equality Day, Harris said that her mother was “the greatest source of inspiration in my life”.

“She taught me from a young age that I had a responsibility to fight for justice. At the age of 19, she arrived in the United States from India alone and with the dream of curing cancer. She was a woman who believed in solving problems,” Harris said.

“In fact, she always used to say, ‘if you see a problem, don’t just sit around complaining about it, do something about it’,” she said.

“On the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, it’s more important than ever that we keep up the fight at the ballot box to honour the women who came before us,” she asserted.

The 19th amendment to the US Constitution granted women the right to vote.

In another tweet along with a video, Harris said that as a young girl, her grandfather would often take her on his morning walks in India, where he’d discuss the importance of fighting for democracy and civil rights. “That commitment and that fight for a better future live on in me to this day,” she said.

“My grandparents were phenomenal. We would go back to India like, every other year. My grandfather fought for and was a defender of the freedom of India. When I was a young girl, being the eldest grandchild, my grandfather would take me on his morning walk,” Harris said in the accompanying video.

“All of his buddies who also were great leaders, they would talk about the importance of fighting for democracy and the importance of fighting for civil rights and that people would be treated equally regardless of where they were born or the circumstances of their birth,” she said.