Childhood friend shares memories of young Kamala Harris

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – A childhood friend of Kamala Harris is sharing her favorite memories of the California senator after learning she was Joe Biden’s pick for vice president.

“It’s very exciting and surreal and heartwarming and makes me want to cry if I think about it too much,” Carole Porter told FOX40.

Porter said she was driving when she heard the news on the radio.

“I got very emotional. I had to pull over because I was crying. So, I couldn’t see,” Porter said.

“Kamala came from a very humble beginning, just as myself.”

The two young friends rode the bus together from west Berkeley to an integrated elementary school on the north side of the city.

“West Berkeley and south Berkeley were redlined neighborhoods where, generally, Black people and immigrants lived because that’s where we were able to buy homes. And it was a very warm and loving environment,” Porter recalled.

Porter said the integrated schools provided a good education.

“We grew up in a very multi-racial environment where all people were accepted and respected and cared for, and part of the conversation, and important parts of the community. And that’s Kamala’s context. That’s who she is. That‘s where she’s from,” Porter said.

As a child, she said Harris was serious about doing well in school.

“I remember Kamala being an excellent listener. If teachers were talking or bus drivers were giving instructions, Kamala was listening,” Porter said. “Kamala was also very helpful and caring. She helped other kids. She cared about the people she was around. She loved her family fiercely.”

Porter and Harris have kept in touch over the years, last seeing each other at a Bay Area fundraiser in 2019.

“She was 100% who I grew up with. She was the authentic person that I expected, that shone through,” Porter said. “Kamala is very warm; she’s very caring. She loves to cook. She loves to laugh.”

When asked about Harris’ potential to be a part of the highest office in the land, Porter said it’s inspiring. 

“I think that’s phenomenal. It, to me, tells all of us, especially all of us Black and Brown young girls, that you can do whatever you decide you want to do,” Porter said. “And as Kamala always says her mother told her, ‘Don’t let anyone ever tell you who you are. You be who you are.’ And she’s showing us that today.”

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