What it means for Indian Americans that Kamala Harris is on a major party’s presidential ticket

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U.S. Senator Kamala Harris speaking with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People, hosted by the Center for the American Progress Action Fund and the SEIU, at the Enclave in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Kamala Harris is both the first Black woman and the first South Asian woman to appear on a major party’s presidential ticket. Her mother is Indian. Her first name, Kamala, means “lotus flower” in Sanskrit. For many members of the Indian American community, Tuesday was a powerful and emotional day, when Harris was officially introduced as Joe Biden’s running mate.

“Indian American Republicans were claiming that President Trump would win the Indian American vote. But that task, I think, has been made near-impossible now,” says Karthick Ramakrishnan, who teaches political science and public policy at the University of California, Riverside.