If you've been educating yourself about Joe Biden's pick for vice president, Senator Kamala Harris, chances are you'll quickly learn about her sister and former presidential campaign chair, Maya Harris. The lawyer, civil rights activist, and author may not always agree with her sister on issues around criminal justice, but the two are fiercely supportive of each other. "If people knew who Kamala was, and really what she believes and really where her heart is, I think it would be hard not to reach the conclusion that this is the person who would be the most passionate advocate for the things we’ve been fighting for for a long time," Maya has said. So who is Kamala's confidante and friend, who's been by her side and even officiated Kamala's wedding to Douglas Emhoff?
Maya Harris boasts an impressive resumé.
If you're already familiar with Maya, it's potentially because she was a senior advisor for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. But she's done so much more than that: She's been a leader for the American Civil Liberties Union, a vice president at the Ford Foundation, and editor of The New Jim Crow by her friend Michelle Alexander. She's also served as VP at the Ford Foundation and became one of the youngest law school deans in the U.S. at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She was a political analyst for MSNBC and quit to work with Kamala on the campaign trail (although Kamala has declined to discuss specifics on who advises her). At times she's been called Kamala's "Bobby Kennedy"—in that she's both highly instrumental and highly loyal to her sister.
She's also a writer. Recently, she wrote honestly about her experience with lupus, saying she felt compelled to speak during the pandemic:
And she's also written publications around police reform, too.
She's married and has a daughter—and she's a grandmother, too.
Maya has been married for over two decades to Tony West, former Associate Attorney General of the U.S. Senate and current Chief Legal Officer of Uber:
He's also an adorably supportive partner towards her and his sister-in-law:
Her daughter Meena is grown up and has two kids of her own:
Both Maya and Kamala reference their mother as a huge influence.
This past Mother's Day, Kamala spoke about her late mother, Shyamala Gopalan, who passed away in 2009:
And Maya spoke about their mother as evidence of who Kamala is and what she stands for after the historic announcement of Kamala for VP:
And it's pretty clear their love of her is one of the most important parts of their lives.
From what we know about Donald Harris, their father, aside from one strangely critical comment he's made about Kamala, he doesn't speak to the press about the relationship, and neither Kamala nor Maya appear to talk about the relationship much.
Maya's been celebrating her sister as VP.
Maya, like so many of us, was absolutely delighted by the news that Kamala was Biden's pick for VP, and has been vocal about her support:
And, most recently, this:
Chances are we'll hear and see much more of Maya as the campaign trail continues, so stay tuned.
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