1-Sentence-Summary: The Truths We Hold is the autobiography of civil rights activist, Californian Senator, and Vice President Kamala Harris, which details her early years in the justice system fighting for the people and what she has been doing in the last few years to help those suffering from the inefficiencies in the United States government.
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By now you’ve most likely heard of Kamala Harris. After Joe Biden’s election in 2020, she made history as the first female Vice President of the United States. She also became the first black vice president and the first person of Indian descent to hold the office.
She’s become a household name for most of us only just recently. But this inspiring woman was making waves ever since she started her career in public service. As the daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, she has made it her lifelong purpose to fight for equality and reform in government.
In The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, written by Kamala herself, we explore Kamala’s life from her Oakland childhood to her career as a District Attorney and eventually California Senator. We learn about how growing up as a daughter of immigrants in a community that deeply cared about social justice led her to a commitment to spread truth.
Here are 3 lessons from the life of the first female vice president in the US:
- Harris’s early experiences in the justice system laid the foundation for her career.
- Her work as a district attorney of California made her future as a senator almost certain.
- Throughout her career, Harris’s efforts have helped immigrants and those affected by the terrible inefficiencies of the US healthcare system.
Let’s jump right in and see how much we can learn!
Lesson 1: The foundation of Harris’s career began with her early experiences working in the justice system.
Kamala realized at her time studying at Howard University that she wanted to be a lawyer. She realized her true heroes weren’t academics and doctors, but lawyers. She admired those involved in the civil rights movement and wanted to become like them to enact lasting change in the world.
After graduating in 1986, she had the goal of becoming a prosecutor. Her family wasn’t totally on board because to them the law had too often been used against minorities. But she felt confident that she could use her position to be a champion for equality.
During her final year of law school, she had an internship in a District Attorney’s office. As an intern, she didn’t have much influence but she learned the ins and outs of the courts. It was this experience that helped her decide what kind of lawyer she’d be.
After graduating, she had a job lined up as deputy DA in Oakland. Here she took her responsibility very seriously— she knew that prosecutors have a direct hand in people’s fates. She was part of the decision of whether people would walk free or be imprisoned. She had many challenging cases defending the vulnerable including working as a prosecutor for child sexual assault cases.
Lesson 2: Kamala’s path to becoming a senator seemed natural after her work as a DA of California.
In 2003, Harris became DA of San Francisco. She used this position to tackle injustices such as mass incarceration. The United States imprisons more people than any other place in the world. Much of this is due to the “War on Drugs,” which imprisons countless people for minor drug offenses.
Harris pioneered the “Back on Track” program. This initiative helped non-violent first-time offenders have other options than going straight to the criminal justice system. Instead, they can go to boot camps and take classes on things like parenting or finances and even complete job training.
Two years later, only 10 percent of Back on Track participants had made another offense, compared to the 50 percent in other cities who committed similar crimes. The program also only cost $5,000 a person rather than the $40,000 a year that it typically costs to house an inmate per year.
In 2015, California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer announced she would retire after 24 years in office. At this news, Kamala decided to run for her Senate seat in the upcoming election. She had popularity as a progressive DA, but it was a hard-fought campaign.
She won in 2016 but it was bittersweet because of the surprise victory of Donald Trump. Nonetheless, she gave an inspiring acceptance speech about how they shouldn’t despair because fighting for equality will always be an uphill struggle.
Lesson 3: Harris’s work is helping improve those hurt by immigration and healthcare standards in the US.
Kamala understands that many of the people immigrating to the US come from places in Central America where violence means leaving their home is the only option left.
When Congress came up with a two-week decision time to decide asylum seekers’ fate, and most of these people didn’t even have any access to lawyers, Kamala was deeply concerned.
She knew that without legal representation, most of them would lose their case. Without a lawyer, asylum seekers have a 90 percent chance of losing their case. Compare that to a 50 percent chance with a legal representative. Harris took it upon herself to call legal firms to get them to work these cases pro bono.
When Trump’s executive order in 2017 threatened the rights of 350,000 immigrants, Harris was one of the most outspoken critics. One of the most shocking policies was the decision to separate children and parents at the border. She led a successful campaign to reveal the terrible conditions these children were subjected to in the camps where they were being held.
Another area she’s helped reform as a senator was in healthcare. Most horrifying to Harris is the disparity in healthcare access between the rich and the poor, which means reduced life expectancy to those living in poverty. She believes we should start considering healthcare as a right not based on what you can pay but what you need. She continues to advocate for reformed healthcare in the US.
The Truths We Hold Review
I didn’t know much about Kamala Harris before coming across The Truths We Hold other than what I’d hear from other people or the news. But after learning about her life she seems like the kind of person that just wants to help other people. That’s something I can get behind, even if there are a lot of varying opinions of her.
Who would I recommend The Truths We Hold summary to?
The 24-year-old history buff, the 48-year-old that likes to be informed about politicians, and anyone who is curious to learn more about the first female vice president of the United States.