California senator Kamala Harris has officially announced she’s running for president in 2020. After an extended period of speculation, and weeks of avoiding the question during media appearances promoting her new memoir, Harris confirmed her candidacy Monday morning (Jan. 21) on Good Morning America.
“I love my country, and this is a moment in time that I feel a sense of responsibility to fight for the best of who we are,” Harris said.
Her choice to launch her campaign on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a public holiday in the US, is significant—Harris was California’s first black senator and the state’s first black female attorney general. According to NPR, her campaign logo was inspired by designs used by Shirley Chisholm, the first black Congresswoman who in 1972 also became the first black woman to run for president in the US.
Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants and a former San Francisco district attorney, is the fourth female lawmaker to launch a presidential bid or an exploration of one, following announcements by fellow Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, and Tulsi Gabbard. This comes after two years of charged activism by women following Donald Trump’s 2016 election—including worldwide Women’s Marches this past weekend—culminating in voters sending a record-breaking number of women to Congress in the 2018 midterm elections.
Harris’s first campaign event will be in South Carolina on Friday (Jan. 25), where African American voters (paywall) have significant impact on Democratic politics. She also invited supporters to join her at a rally in her hometown of Oakland, CA next Sunday.
“My mother used to tell me, ‘Kamala, you may be the first to do many things. Make sure you are not the last,’” Harris told New York Magazine last year.