Who Is Shyamala Gopalan Harris: 6 Things To Know About Her

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

While women around the world are inspired by the United States Vice President elect Kamala Harris, she draws her inspiration from her mother who raised two daughters all by herself. Kamala Harris has at speeches and interviews mentioned about her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris and the impact she had on Kamala’s upbringing.

Harris says, “I am the daughter of the mother who broke down all kinds of barriers.” Harris’s mother was dear to her heart and still she is- her repetitive mentions are indicative of the same fact. Even her sister  Maya Harris once tweeted “You can’t know who Kamala Harris is without knowing who our mother was.”

6 Things To Know About Shyamala Gopalan Harris

  • Shyamala Gopalan was a scientific researcher and a civil rights activist. She was born in Madras and left India when she was just 19.
  • She studied at Delhi University and went on to do her doctorate in nutrition and endocrinology from the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Gopalan was a world-renowned scientist. After her Ph.D., she stayed at UC Berkeley and became a breast cancer researcher. Kamala Harris’s mother Gopalan went to various universities around the world for her research work. Some of the universities where she worked are- the University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin,  McGill University in Montreal.
  • Shyamala brought her two daughters- Maya and Kamala to Canada. Kamala lived in Canada from age 12 until high school graduation.
  • Gopalan met with her husband Donal J. Harris in a protest at the streets of Oakland in the 1960s. Later in 1970s, the two got divorced when Kamala Harris was 7. After her separation, she continued to fight for racial equality. Gopalan mentored students of colour, counselled African-American women battling breast cancer, and powered up political activism in her daughters.
  • Gopalan passed away at 70 in 2009 succumbing to cancer, but even after her death, her daughters made sure to continue their mother’s legacy in and around their lives.

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