Kamala Harris, the Democratic senator from California, announced Monday her 2020 White House bid, becoming the first Indian-American woman to run for United States presidency and only the second African-American woman to do so. Let's do this together: For ourselves, for our kids, for our country, ' the Senator said in her announcement video.
"The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values", the former prosecutor and Attorney General of California said in the video.
Vowing to "bring our voices together", Harris would be the first woman to hold the presidency if she succeeds.
Harris is just one of several Democratic presidential hopefuls, declared and otherwise, who are using the national holiday to talk up the importance of King's civil-rights battle and the issue of America's racial divides - sure to feature prominently in the fight against President Donald Trump. A Wall Street Journal opinion piece says Harris' biggest weapon is her identity as a "prosecutor" at a time when that label has become a chartbuster in American politics. Multiple pundits are saying Harris comes out looking stronger than any other potential candidate based on her broad appeal across the handful of constituencies that will decide fortunes in the primaries that will begin next Spring.
"If something is worth fighting for, it's a fight worth having. period", she said. At least on Twitter, she's no match for the current president.
Harris, 54, who grew up in Oakland, California, is one of the earliest high-profile Democrats to join what is expected to be a crowded field.
"On all of those points, I feel very confident about my ability to lead", she said.
Recent polling has shown that Harris is the top choice among the three current female candidates, though "white males" - former VP Joe Biden, Sen. Other high profile women who have entered the race include Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of NY and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.
Harris, who made history in 2016 as the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate from California, has embraced the party's diversity ahead of a Democratic nominating campaign where minority voters and liberal activists are expected to have an outsized voice.
In interviews earlier this month coinciding with the release of her memoir, Harris explained that she was empowered at a young age with the disposition to take personal responsibility to address the hardships she encountered, an attribute that appears to be part of her pitch to voters. "They want a paycheck", Harris said of the federal workers foregoing pay.
She timed her announcement for the Martin Luther King Jr.
As a California district attorney and later as the state's attorney general, Harris frequently opposed or ignored criminal justice reform measures aimed at levelling a playing field critics say is unfairly tilted against black defendants, the former director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent wrote last week in the New York Times. Harris' home state of California also has moved up its primary to increase its influence.
Harris will hold a formal campaign launch in Oakland next week.