7 Things Shyamala Gopalan said to Kamala That All Moms Should Say To Their Daughters

Shyamala Gopalan Harris, Kamala Harris mother-daughter relationship, Shyamala Gopalan Kamala Harris

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” so said Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris on winning the election as running mate to Joe Biden. Biden-Harris’ win is special because it is a story of many firsts.  Equally special is Harris’ acknowledgement of her mother’s role in shaping her life. “There is no title or honor on earth I’ll treasure more than to say I am Shyamala Gopalan Harris’s daughter. That is the truth I hold dearest of all,” Harris wrote in her memoir The Truths We Hold: An American Journey. Hearing Harris speak about her breast cancer researcher mother, who was a single parent, is not just emotional but empowering. All mother-daughter relationships are special but their’s is unique.

Also Read: India Finds A Mention In Kamala Harris’ First US Election Speech

Here are seven comments from by Shyamala Gopalan That All Moms Should Say To Their Daughters.

On Facing the World

“She knew that her adopted homeland would see Maya and me as black girls, and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident black women.”

On Facing Racism

“You are Indian; you are Black. You don’t have to prove that you’re one or the other.”


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“Even as she taught us to keep our family at the center of our world, she also pushed us to see a world beyond ourselves.”

Also Read: Joe Biden names Indian-American Kamala Harris as his Vice Presidential candidate

Give Back

“My mother taught me that service to others gives life purpose and meaning.”

Fight for Justice

“She taught us to be conscious and compassionate about the struggles of all people. To believe public service is a noble cause and the fight for justice is a shared responsibility.”

Old Fashioned Values

My mother taught us the importance of a good education. ⁣
She taught us the good old-fashioned value of hard work. ⁣
She taught us don’t let anyone tell you who you are. You tell them who you are. ⁣
She taught us not only to dream but to do. ⁣
She taught us to believe in our power to right what is wrong. ⁣


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Be the Change

“I am voting for people like my mother, Shyamala, who taught my sister and me that if you see a problem, you don’t complain about it: you do something about it. It’s because of her that I know change is possible when we put in the work.

The Shymala Gopalan Story

Shyamala Gopalan defied all odds and moved to the US  with an aim to fulfil her academic interests. At 19, this move was a pathbreaking and life altering step. She studied endocrinology at Berkeley. She fell in love with Donald Harris  a man of colour, got married. Both of them were involved in the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. She was a singer of Carnatic style of music and occasionally sang on local radio stations. Gopalan passed away due to complications from colon cancer in 2009. She was 70.