California Senator Kamala Harris announced she'd be on the Democratic 2020 presidential ticket during what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.'s 90th birthday on Monday.
The former prosecutor's recently launched campaign paid tribute to Shirley Chisholm, the first Black person and woman to run for president.
It was 47 years to the day when Chisholm took on the political establishment with her historic bid. She previously made history in 1968 by becoming the first Black woman elected to Congress. The logo the Harris campaign chose shares similarities to Chisholm's red and yellow campaign buttons.
Interesting Tidbit: Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman ever to run for president, launched her campaign 47 years ago.#KamalaHarris chose yellow and red for her campaign logo in a nod to Chisholm's bid for president with its red and yellow campaign buttons. pic.twitter.com/gf53gIl7DE— Trevor Joseph Newton (@TrevJoseph) January 21, 2019
Harris' camp also used similar typography in her logo and in the campaign promotional materials to evoke the historic nature of her bid. As CBS News notes, there are parallels between the pair.
They are both children of Caribbean immigrants. The California senator's mother is Southeast Asian, and her father is Jamaican. She is the first person of Southeast Asian descent to run for president, as well.
With the announcement, Harris becomes the clear frontrunner and fourth woman to join the Democratic candidates. She along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former President Barack Obama cabinet member Julian Castro are the three to beat in what is expected to be a crowded field.
Facts about @KamalaHarris:— Anna-Lysa Gayle (@ABC7Annalysa) January 21, 2019
-She is biracial (parents are immigrants from Jamaica and India)
-She’s the 2nd black woman and 1st South Asian-American Senator
-Her logo is inspired by the late Shirley Chisholm (1st black woman to run for president).https://t.co/9h3QfmNI0F
It is not taken lightly by many that nearly 50 years after Shirley Chisholm, the first woman & African-American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties (1972), @KamalaHarris announces her presidential campaign.— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) January 21, 2019
However, Harris' past as a prosecutor has raised incited skepticism from Black liberals.
HuffPost reports the criticism stemmed from her time as a district attorney in San Francisco and California's attorney general. Activists said she helped to strengthen the prison system in the state while serving as AG. Some law experts also stated she often took the wrong side of history on cases -- reportedly fighting hard to uphold wrongful convictions.
“I can tell you of the cases where I really regret that we were not able to charge somebody that molested a child but the evidence wasn’t there," Harris said in her first press conference at Howard as a presidential candidate on Monday.
"There are cases ... where there were folks who made a decision in my office who did not consult with me and I wish they had. But again, I take full responsibility for those decisions.”
All I can say for us as a people is, do your research before jumping on the bandwagon of just voting because someone is Black. Also, please don’t ever compare her to Shirley Chisholm. https://t.co/4sH7arMEQl— E. Blake (@EricaLBlake) January 21, 2019
Undeniable interest in Harris among Dems, but she's still largely undefined. Interesting Qs in next couple months: 1) Does she center economic policy 2) how can she square prosecutor record w/ "woke" campaign 3) can she pull off obama-esque Iowa appeal https://t.co/PIgYFn6cab— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) January 21, 2019
Despite the pushback, she said she is proud of her time as attorney general. She spearheaded an initiative in the state that allowed first-time nonviolent offenders to have charges dismissed when they completed vocational training. Harris vows to stick to her promise of fighting for justice reform.
“There are fundamental flaws in the criminal justice system and ... this criminal justice system needs to be reformed,” she said.
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