2020 U.S. Presidential Election: Inside Kamala Harris' Groundbreaking, Historic Victory

The answer saw her marching off to Washington, D.C. and enrolling at the district’s renowned Howard University before heading to law school at the University of California, inspired by the work of attorneys and civil rights icons Thurgood Marshall, Charles Hamilton Houston and Constance Baker Motley.

“When I saw a broken justice system, I became a lawyer, to try and fix it,” she explained in the campaign clip, her studies leading her from the Alamada County District Attorney’s Office to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office to the City Attorney of San Francisco’s office and finally the San Francisco D.A.’s seat. 

The product of a wide and varied education, she and her younger sister Maya Harris—a civil rights attorney and former advisor to Hillary Clinton—were bused to an elementary school in an upscale neighborhood of Berkeley, Calif., as part of the city’s desegregation program. Together they attended protests, sang in the choir at a Black church in Oakland and regularly attended a Hindu temple with their mother, Shyamala Gopalan, who came to California from India as a graduate student in 1958. 

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