As per a report by The New York Times, Indian-origin Senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris’ father, Donald Harris has expressed that his contact with daughters “came to an abrupt halt” after a disputatious battle with his wife.
The report mentioned that the Jamaican-born economics professor disclosed how the custody battle made him lose every connection with his daughters.
Shyamala Gopalan, Kamala Harris’ mother and a cancer biologist came from India to the US at the age of 19 to achieve her dream of curing the dreaded treatment. Harris in her speech at the Democratic National Convention, addressed her mother vividly, while she had very few words to say about her father. While narrating the story of her parents, how they came together and got married, she said,
My mother met my father, who had come from Jamaica to study economics, at the University of California Berkeley, and later, the two fell in love in that most American way-while marching together for justice in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
In her acceptance speech on August 19, she mentioned,
My mother instilled in my sister, Maya, and me the values that would chart the course of our lives. She raised us to be proud, strong Black women. And she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage.
Adding further the Indian-American Senator from California expressed,
When I was 5, my parents split and my mother raised us mostly on her own. Like so many mothers, she worked around the clock to make it work – packing lunches before we woke up and paying bills after we went to bed. Helping us with homework at the kitchen table and shuttling us to church for choir practice.
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Continuing further Kamala said,
She made it look easy, though I know it never was. she taught us to put family first- the family you’re born into and the family you choose.
About Separated Father
81-year-old Donald Harris, as the report stated, has long-retired from teaching and has not spoken much about his daughter, even after she “has stepped into the national spotlight.”
Donald, in an essay in 2018 had mentioned how close contact with his daughters “came to an abrupt halt” after a contentious custody battle. The essay stated:
This early phase of interaction with my children came to an abrupt halt in 1972 when, after a hard-fought custody battle in the family court of Oakland, California, the context of the relationship was placed within arbitrary limits imposed by a court-ordered divorce settlement based on the false assumption by the State of California that fathers cannot handle parenting…Nevertheless, I persisted, never giving up on my love for my children on reneging on my responsibilities as their father.
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As cited in the report, his latest comment published on a Jamaican website, run by an acquaintance, read how he “expressed a combination of pride in his daughter and bitterness over their estrangement.”
The report further mentioned,
He scolded her in a letter, which has since been removed from the site, for joking in an interview that, growing up in a Jamaican family, it was natural that she had smoked marijuana.
Donald Harris later said:
Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty.
The report also hints that the divorce between Harris’ parents was bitter. Kamala says,
I remember inviting both my parents to high school graduation, even though I knew they wouldn’t speak to each other. I was afraid my mother wouldn’t show up.