Spotlight On: Kamala Harris

Spotlight On: Kamala Harris

Getting to know the Senator from California
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The field for potential 2020 presidential candidates is scarce for the Democratic party. I wanted to take a few articles and introduce some of the lesser known democratic politicians that I think are on their way to political stardom. Some you may agree with, and some you may not. This is my opinion on who I think should run in 2020 in order to take our country back from the person and party who is currently in control. I wanted to start with the Senator from California, Kamala Harris.

Senator Harris was born in Oakland, California in 1964. She is the daughter of an Indian mother and an African-American father. Even though her family moved to Canada when she was young, she came back to the U.S. and graduated from Howard University. She then returned home to California and got her law degree from University of California, Hastings College of Law. In 1990, she served as the deputy District Attorney for Alameda County. Harris says she sought a career in law enforcement because she wanted to be "at the table where decisions are made." In 1998, she became the managing attorney of the Career Criminal Unit for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. She was later recognized by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the top 100 lawyers in California. In 2003, she defeated the two-term incumbent to become the District Attorney of the city and county of San Francisco. While she was DA, the felony conviction rate rose from 52% to 67% in the span of three years. There was also an 85% conviction rate among homicides. She created a special Hate Crimes Unit that focused on LGBT kids and teens. She supported gay marriage in California and opposed Proposition 22 and the infamous Proposition 8. In 2010, she was elected as the first African-American and the first woman to serve as Attorney General of California.

When Harris was elected to the Senate just over ten months ago, she became the Second African-American woman and the first Indian-American to serve. She is pro-choice and has received a 100% rating from the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. When she was DA in San Francisco she created the Environmental Justice Unit and prosecuted several industries and individuals for pollution, most notably U-Haul, Alameda Publishing Corporation, and the Cosco Busan oil spill. She prosecuted many financial crimes, particularly affecting the elderly and identity theft. She believes in getting guns off the streets. Harris supported DACA and voted against the confirmation of now Chief of Staff John Kelly because he would definitively answer if he would protect these young people’s information from ICE. Just recently she was the first senator to co-sponsor Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare-for-all” bill.

Senator Harris is an up and coming democratic leader and potential presidential candidate. Probably a winning presidential candidate. She currently serves on four major committees in the Senate, Homeland Security, Intelligence, environmental, and the Budget committees. She became a feminist hero when she was hearing testimony from Jeff Sessions about the firing of James Comey. Some Trump supporters in the media called her “hysterical.” We’ve all heard that before, am I right, ladies?

Kamala Harris has stated that she doesn’t plan on running in 2020, but I am not giving my hopes up yet. We need someone like her to help take out Trump and his cronies. She has the experience and the tenacity to run and I can’t wait to see what awaits for her in the future.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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