Kamala Harris enters 2020 bid with tribute to woman who broke barriers

California senator’s logo is a tribute to Shirley Chisholm, the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president in a major political party, in 1972

Kamala Harris has entered the crowded Democratic 2020 race for US president with a tribute to a woman who broke barriers in American politics decades earlier.

The California senator’s logo is a nod to Shirley Chisholm, the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president in a major political party, in 1972.

Shirley Chisholm in 1972.
Shirley Chisholm in 1972. Photograph: Don Hogan Charles/Getty Images

Harris, the former attorney general of California, has chosen a red and yellow design for her logo that resembles the campaign buttons used five decades ago by Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress.

“Shirley Chisholm’s activism, advocacy and willingness to persistently remind the nation of the work to be done on behalf of it’s people is an enduring legacy that lives on in the Senator and to honor that legacy in her own campaign for President was a no-brainer,” a campaign spokeswoman, Kirsten Allen, said in an email.

Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, has broken barriers throughout her meteoric rise in California politics. The Democrat was the first African American and first woman to be elected San Francisco district attorney in 2003 and state attorney general in 2010. In 2016, she became the second black woman and first south Asian woman elected to the Senate.

Will thread info on Harris' announcement here, including staff hires and background info. Obviously it's heavy on symbolism: not only MLK Day announcement, but comes 47 years to the day as Shirley Chisholm's 1972 campaign kickoff. Even Harris' logo was meant as a nod to Chisholm pic.twitter.com/fhV5ha8I4B

— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) January 21, 2019

She launched her campaign on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr Day, with an announcement on ABC’s Good Morning America. Harris has also planned a campaign rally on Sunday in Oakland, where she was born.

Harris, who unveiled a campaign slogan “Kamala Harris For The People”, is setting up campaign headquarters in Baltimore, with another office in Oakland.

Chisholm’s feminist mantra was “unbought and unbossed”, and when she ran for president, she faced opposition from white feminists and other Democrats.

She was also known for her quote, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

Harris’s fellow senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have also announced bids for the Democratic nomination, along with the former housing secretary Julián Castro and Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Harris’s campaign video launch emphasized “truth, justice, decency and equality”, saying, “They’re the values we as Americans cherish, and they’re all on the line now.”

In recent weeks, the senator has faced scrutiny from some progressives over her prosecutorial record.


Sam Levin in Oakland

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Kamala Harris officially enters 2020 US presidential race
Democratic senator portrays herself as a fighter for justice and equality as she enters crowded field of candidates vying to take on Trump

Lauren Gambino in Washington

21, Jan, 2019 @3:23 PM

Article image
Kamala Harris kicks off 2020 campaign with hometown Oakland rally
California senator marks official start of her run for the Democratic presidential nomination

Lois Beckett in Oakland

27, Jan, 2019 @10:04 PM

Article image
Kamala Harris: can a 'top cop' win over progressives in 2020?
In her career as a prosecutor, the Democrat supported increased criminalization of sex work, took no action in key police abuse cases and defended a troubled prison system

Sam Levin and Lois Beckett in Oakland

19, Jan, 2019 @11:00 AM

Article image
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris call for nationwide mask mandate – as it happened
Biden tells Americans to ‘do the right thing’ and says ‘every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing’ – follow the latest news live

Maanvi Singh (now), Lauren Aratani and Martin Belam (earlier)

14, Aug, 2020 @12:10 AM

Article image
Kamala Harris makes history at DNC after Barack Obama rallies voters against Trump – as it happened
Kamala Harris becomes first Black woman and first Asian American to join a major party’s presidential ticket, as Obama tears into Donald Trump

Joan E Greve in Washington and Maanvi Singh

20, Aug, 2020 @4:37 AM

Article image
Kamala Harris invites speculation over 2020 White House bid
Democratic senator, 54, says she’ll make a decision soon and accuses Donald Trump of throwing a tantrum to ‘create fear and division’

Lauren Gambino in Washington

10, Jan, 2019 @2:02 PM

Article image
Kamala Harris drops out of Democratic 2020 presidential race
California senator had started strongly before fading and had lately focused all efforts on Iowa

Lauren Gambino in Washington and Martin Pengelly in New York

03, Dec, 2019 @8:56 PM

Article image
Kamala Harris makes history as first woman of color elected US vice-president
California senator, who is of Indian and Jamaican heritage, will be first elected woman in White House

Daniel Strauss in Wilmington and Lauren Gambino in Washington

07, Nov, 2020 @4:32 PM

Article image
Who will fill Kamala Harris's Senate seat in California?
The state’s governor will appoint a replacement for Harris now she has been elected vice-president. Who’s in the frame?

Maanvi Singh in San Francisco

07, Nov, 2020 @8:38 PM

Article image
‘Don't count her out’: can Kamala Harris salvage a languishing 2020 bid?
The California senator was set to storm the race but instead has been taking dramatic action to boost her campaign – will the impeachment inquiry save it?

Lauren Gambino in Springfield, Virginia

01, Nov, 2019 @6:00 AM