Jamaican town celebrates history-making Kamala Harris

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris introduces President-elect Joe Biden to speak on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del.
Associated Press / Carolyn Kaster

The meteoric rise of Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris to vice president-elect of the United States has been welcomed with jubilation in Brown’s Town, in the parish of St. Ann in Jamaica, the birthplace of her father, Dr. Donald Harris, and where several of her relatives still reside, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.

Sen. Harris, of California, the daughter of an Indian mother and Dr. Harris, is the first woman to be elected vice-president of the United States.

She will assume office on Jan. 20, when she and her US presidential running mate, Joe Biden, are sworn in the new US administration.

“It’s a joyous moment in the family through her success, and we are happy for her,” Harris’s cousin, Sherman Harris, told The Gleaner Saturday night.

“We’re having a little thing,” Sherman added. “It’s not really a public affair, but a lot of people are joyful, and the community is excited about it.” he added.

While Harris praised her late mother and embraced her Indian ancestry in her victory speech in Wilmington, Del. Saturday night, the Gleaner noted that “there was silence about her father and her roots in Jamaica – evidence of the fractured relationship she has had with the professor, who is still alive.”

The Gleaner said that “bad blood resurfaced when she joked in an interview about the smoking of ganja as second nature to Jamaicans – a reference that irritated her father, who publicly reprimanded her.”

But that rift is not top of mind for Sherman Harris, who last saw Kamala years ago when they were much younger, according to the Gleaner.

“I knew from the beginning that she would have won because anything she is involved in becomes a total success,” Sherman told the Gleaner. “She’s not an easy girl.

“We are accustomed to success, and I think we are all elated about her success,” he added. “We are very happy for her, very happy.

“And all the family, the rest of family that lives in Miami, they are joyful, too,” Sherman Harris continued. “Everybody is elated and happy.”

Former Caribbean Community (CARICOM) chairperson, Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, and Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness have joined global leaders in congratulating US President-elect Joe Biden and Harris, the Gleaner reported.

“America has spoken, and the world is inspired,” said Motley on Twitter.

“I am sure that we here in the Caribbean will look forward with optimism to working with the new administration to confront a number of global issues- from the awful pandemic, to the climate crisis which we face, to the pursuit of racial justice,” Mottley added.

Holness also expressed pride for Harris’ Jamaican roots, as he congratulated Biden and Harris’ win, according to the Gleaner.

“America will have its first female vice president in the person of Kamala Harris, and we are proud that she bears Jamaican heritage,” he tweeted.

“I salute her,” he added. “We look forward to working with the new administration.”

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