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Kamala, It's COMMA-la

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

Kamala, like a comma (the punctuation mark) with a la at the end. That's the helpful hint Senator Kamala Harris offers people when she tells them how she pronounces her name. And since the mispronunciation of people's names is my number one pet peeve (and I have many), I decided to do a short and sweet Stairwell Episode and Blog on the correct pronunciation of Vice-Presidential nominee Kamala Harris' name.

Although I know how she pronounces her name, I checked a few articles on the very topic. I came across a delightful twitter ad that ran during her Senate Campaign in 2017 in which a rainbow coalition of kids tell us the wrong and right way to say her name. It's well worth watching,

And this article in Marie-Claire provides a bit of information about Kamala's name and references the 2017 kids campaign ad. If you haven't yet watched it, take a 19-second detour from your reading. I promise it will put a smile on your face, and you'll remember how to say Kamala hereafter.

The New Yorker Profile, Kamala Harris Makes Her Case, published last summer, when she was running for President, provides a comprehensive briefing on her background.

We learn people's names as a sign of respect, and already Trucker Carlston of Fox News went ballistic when a guest on his show pointed out the correct pronunciation of Senator Harris' name. (Yes I know his name is Tucker Carlson). Check out the exchange. I've been racking my brain trying to think of the possible nicknames that Donald Trump will soon unleash as his short cut to reference Senator Harris.

I am glad that a woman is on the Democratic ticket with Biden, and the various women he considered as his running mate are talented, accomplished, and dedicated public servants. The Democratic Party has a deep bench of political talent, and it is a disappointment we don't have a woman heading the Democratic Party ticket. I am confident that many of these women will serve in essential posts in the Biden-Harris Administration. I am pleased he selected a woman of color. Kamala identifies both as black and Indian American. Her mother was born and grew up in India, and her father is originally from Jamaica. They met in the United States in Berkeley, as graduate students where they came for educational opportunities.

Senator Harris graduated from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, part of the University of California system, and her undergraduate degree is from Howard University, a Historically Black College located in Washington, DC. Howard University has produced an array of extraordinary jurists, writers, musicians, physicians, thought leaders, and elected officials. A few notables are: Thurgood Marshall, Toni Morrison, Elijah Cummings, Zora Neale Hurston, Ta-Nahesi Coates, Isabel Wilkerson, Sean Combs, and the list goes on. Click here to see a listing of other Howard University Alums.

Her first elected office was as the District Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco. Although many are critical of her role as a prosecutor, I found this opinion piece in USA Today by a fierce and well-respected public defender in San Francisco, Niki Solis, very informative. Click here to read Public defender: I worked with Kamala Harris. She was the most progressive DA in CA.

Kamala Harris served as California's Attorney General before winning her seat to the Senate. She is only the second black woman to serve in the United States Senate.

Having just watched Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' first joint televised appearance, I was filled with pride seeing this brown woman at the podium. Our country deserves smart and thoughtful leaders who understand the hardships, hopes, and desires of ordinary folks who call the United States our home.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can start the long and challenging process of getting the Covid-19 pandemic under control, providing the safety net so desperately needed by millions, and moving our country towards inclusion and away from hatred and division.

It's Kamala, like Mommala or Mammala.

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