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US elections 2020

Harris, Asian American, hailed as first female US vice president

Laurene Jobs and Facebook's Sandberg send praise for breaking 'glass ceiling'

Sen. Kamala Harris takes the stage for a campaign stop at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire, during her presidential run in April 2019.     © Reuters

PALO ALTO, U.S. -- With U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden poised to succeed President Donald Trump, Black and Indian American Sen. Kamala Harris will become the first female vice president in the country's history.

"We did it. We did it, Joe," Harris said in a video posted Saturday on Twitter after media outlets called the presidential race. "You're going to be the next president of the United States," she said, laughing, in a call to Biden. 

Among the two major parties in the U.S., Harris was the first woman selected as a vice presidential candidate since the 2008 Republican ticket featured former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"For the first time in 231 years, our next vice president will be a Black and South Asian American woman who is the daughter of immigrants," Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, an outspoken advocate for women in leadership positions, wrote in a post. "Congratulations to Kamala Harris on this remarkable achievement -- shattering glass ceilings and norms around what leadership looks like."

Laurene Powell Jobs, philanthropist and widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, said in a Twitter message: "We celebrate our democracy, our common humanity, and a glass ceiling shattered once and for all."

Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris pass each other on stage during a campaign event at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Delaware in August.   © AP

Andrew Holness, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, congratulated Harris in a Twitter message Saturday, citing her Jamaican heritage. Harris' father Donald Harris was born in the Caribbean island nation.

"America will have its first female Vice President in the person of Kamala Harris, and we are proud that she bears Jamaican heritage," he wrote. "Her ascension to this role is a monumental accomplishment for women all over the world and I salute her. We look forward to working with the new administration."

On her mother's side, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Heartiest congratulations @KamalaHarris! Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian Americans."

"Chittis" is Tamil for aunt, and a word Harris used in her speech accepting the Democratic Party's nomination for vice president in August. It was received with excitement within the Indian American community.

"I am confident that the vibrant India-US ties will get even stronger with your support and leadership," Modi added.

Harris, born to a Jamaican father and Indian mother in 1964 in Oakland, California, graduated from Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. After serving as prosecutor, she was elected as California's attorney general prior to winning a Senate seat in 2016.

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