WILMINGTON, Del. — Sen. Kamala Harris was formally nominated for vice president Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention, officially joining the presidential ticket topped by Joe Biden in an effort to unseat President Donald Trump in November’s election.
Harris, 55, is the third woman to be named as a vice-presidential candidate for a major political party, and the first Black woman and first person of Asian descent. She follows Geraldine Ferraro, who was chosen as Walter Mondale’s Democratic running mate in 1984; and Sarah Palin, who was named by John McCain as the Republican vice-presidential pick in 2008.
Harris, who accepted the nomination late Wednesday, gave her speech at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, and was the final speaker of the night. Former President Barack Obama, who was originally supposed to be the final speaker Wednesday, asked to change the order and symbolically pass the torch to Harris, ABC News reported.
Harris, the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, spoke of family and her upbringing in California as she accepted the nomination, saying it was “a testament to the dedication of generations before me.”
“I do so, committed to the values she (my mother) taught me, to the word that teaches me to walk by faith, and not by sight, and to a vision passed on through generations of Americans -- one that Joe Biden shares,” Harris said. “A vision of our nation as a beloved community -- where all are welcome, no matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we love.
“A country where we may not agree on every detail, but we are united by the fundamental belief that every human being is of infinite worth, deserving of compassion, dignity and respect. A country where we look out for one another, where we rise and fall as one, where we face our challenges, and celebrate our triumphs. Together.”
Harris was officially nominated by her sister Maya, her niece Meena, and stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff.
"I love you, I admire you, I am so proud of you. Even though mommy is not here to see her first daughter step into history, the entire nation will see in your strength, your integrity, your intelligence, and your optimism the values that she raised us with," Maya said.
“We love you, mamala. We are so proud of you, auntie. You mean the world to us, Kamala. And we could not be more excited to share you with the world. As the next vice president of the United States,” the women said together.
During her speech, Harris also took aim at President Donald Trump while extolling the values of Biden, saying there was “no vaccine for racism,” and that “we have got to do the work.”
“Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods,” Harris said. “Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose.”
“We’re at an inflection point. The constant chaos leaves us adrift,” Harris added. “The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot.
“And here’s the thing: We can do better and deserve so much more. We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better, and do the important work. A president who will bring all of us together -- Black, White, Latino, Asian, Indigenous -- to achieve the future we collectively want.
“We must elect Joe Biden.”
Harris was halfway into her first term as a U.S. senator when she jumped into the Democratic presidential campaign, riding into the campaign after her high-profile prosecutorial interrogations of Trump administration officials during Senate hearings.
Harris was a top tier candidate during the debates. She went after Biden in the first debate when the former vice president spoke of his collegiality with segregationist senators and his work to thwart busing to racially integrate schools, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,” Harris said, directing her gaze at Biden. “And that little girl was me.”
Nevertheless, Harris endorsed Biden in March after she dropped out of the presidential race.
The California senator also spoke about her mother’s influence and talked about the country she and Biden hope to build together if they are elected.
Harris will debate current Vice President Mike Pence on Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City.
Harris studied political science and economics at Howard University, a historically Black university. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1986 and got her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Harris was born in Oakland, California, the daughter of Donald Harris, a Stanford University economics professor who immigrated from Jamaica, and Kamala Gopalan Harris, who was a cancer scientist and the daughter of an Indian diplomat. She has a sister named Maya who is a public policy advocate.
From 2004 to 2011, Harris was the 27th district attorney of San Francisco. She made history in 2010 when she was elected attorney general of California, becoming the first female and first African-American to have the position. She ran again in 2014 and was re-elected.
Harris married Doug Emhoff, a lawyer, in 2014.
Earlier this year, Biden vowed to name a woman as his running mate. On the shortlist were Harris, Sen. Tammy Duckworth and former national security advisor Susan Rice.
Biden joined Harris on the stage after her speech. In her conclusion, Harris urged Americans to fight -- while she vowed to fight for Americans.
“Let’s fight with conviction. Let’s fight with hope. Let’s fight with confidence in ourselves, and a commitment to each other,” Harris said. “To the America we know is possible. The America we love.”