East Bay community where Kamala Harris grew up reflects on legacy

Bay Area

BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) – Bay Area native Kamala Harris is Vice President-elect of the United States.

Harris posted a video on Twitter where she is seen congratulating President-elect Joe Biden over the phone.

Harris makes history as the first Black woman to become Vice President, an achievement that comes as the U.S. faces a reckoning on racial justice.

Harris is also the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency.

Harris spent her childhood in Berkeley, a community that continues to show its support for the woman breaking barriers.

“It’s a massive turnaround, a massive change to see somebody in the White House and representing our country, not only looks like me, but has this really similar background of you know having professor parents and both being Black and Indian,” said Berkeley resident Avinashi Bhandari.

Harris was born to a Jamaican father and Indian mother.

The Bhandari family of Berkeley share similar ethnic backgrounds and have been supporting Harris from the start.

“We ran down here, Aarushi and I this morning when we heard the news with our pots and pans we were banging in celebration when all our neighbors came,” said Berkeley resident Donna Jones.

16-year-old Avinashi and her 12-year-old sister Aarushi gathered with their parents and neighbors at Arlington Circle in Berkeley.

Aarushi grew up going to Harris’ rallies when she was senator.

“I also feel well protected knowing that there’s somebody like me in power because I never really felt like I could relate to any of the people leading our country,” Aarushi said.

As for their father, Rakesh Bhandari grew up in Berkeley and was a classmate of Harris’ sister Maya.

He says he is proud of Harris, especially having biracial children of her own.

“Having grown up here, I saw Indians and other Asians and other minority groups break through in Silicon Valley but that was men and I saw [Barack] Obama break through and that was a man, and now with Kamala Harris a woman to break through it is new ground and I’m extremely excited for all young girls of color to have her as a role model,” he said.

Meanwhile, Harris’ childhood home in Berkeley had visitors Saturday leaving messages of support in chalk.

At Thousand Oaks Elementary School, where Harris went to school, a sign reads “Madam VP” in front of a mural she shares with other influential women.

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