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The Truths We Hold

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The Truths We Hold

An American Journey

Penguin Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris tackles the contentious topics of criminal justice and immigration.

Editorial Rating



  • Background
  • Engaging


Soon after announcing her presidential candidacy in early 2019, US Senator Kamala Harris made herself a heroine to the left and a villain to the right with her call for “Medicare for all.” Harris’s prescription endeared her to progressives, but earned her the enmity of Republicans and even some centrists. This autobiography serves as Harris’s introduction to American voters. She takes pains to portray herself as both a sharp-elbowed protector of the weak – whether they’re victims of crime, children fleeing harsh conditions in Central America or homeowners facing foreclosure – and a fierce foe of Wall Street titans and Trump administration officials.


A Jamaican-Indian in Northern California

Kamala Harris was born in 1964, in Oakland. Her name – pronounced “comma-la” – means “lotus flower.” Harris’s father, Donald, was a native of Jamaica who studied at the University of California at Berkeley and later became an economics professor at Stanford. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was born in India. She earned a doctorate at Berkeley when she was just 25 and became a researcher specializing in breast cancer. Kamala’s sister was born two years later. Their parents split when the girls were young, and Harris’s mother took on most of the child-rearing.

After high school, Harris decided to attend Howard University, the historically black college in Washington, DC. After graduating from Howard, Harris returned home and enrolled in UC Hastings College of the Law. There, she was elected president of the Black Law Students Association. As president, one of Harris’s priorities was making sure black law students had just as many opportunities as their white classmates. So, she hosted a job fair and phoned managing partners of major law firms to let them know.

Becoming a Government...

About the Author

Kamala Harris is a former San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general. In 2016, she was elected to the US Senate. In 2019, she became a Democratic candidate for president.

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