Please see my first piece on theRoot.com. I tackle the issue if whether or not Senator Kamala Harris’ time as a prosecutor should take her out of the race for president. I also share my perspective as a former prosecutor of color.
The piece caused quite a stir on Twitter and in the comments section of the Root.
To be clear, I am adopting a wait and see approach — with an open mind and proceeding with caution, as with anyone who wants to sit in the Oval Office. It seems like some politicians are allowed a “complicated” past while others are faced with a high level scrutiny. I think people are allowed (and should!) evolve and grow around issues of policy. Let’s see what the next year brings!
Since announcing her intention to run for president this past Martin Luther King Day, a firestorm has swirled around Sen. Kamala Harris. Some attack her for her personal life; others attack her based on her record as a prosecutor in California. Kamala served as San Francisco district attorney from 2004 to 2011 and as California attorney general from 2011 to 2017. She joined the United States Senate in 2017, where she still serves today.
Some accuse her of not being “pro-black” because of her work as a prosecutor, stating that a prosecutor upholds a racist system.
Let’s get thing straight—you can be pro-black and a prosecutor.
Charlotte E. Ray was born in New York in January 1850. She was a daughter of a slavery abolitionist — highly intelligent with a will of steel. She decided to go to law school at a time that women and African Americans were not welcome. Knowing this, she got creative. She submitted her application as C.E. Ray, tricking the admissions committee into thinking she was a man. She succeeded, and attended Howard University School of law in Washington, D.C. Ms. Ray excelled in her coursework, with her specialty being corporate law. Her classmates were very impressed by her, noting that she was an apt student.
Ms. Ray graduated, and in 1872 became the FIRST woman to be admitted to the DC Bar…and the first woman of color to practice law in the US. Later, she became the FIRST woman to be granted permission to argue cases before the US Supreme Court.
She opened her own firm, advertising in famous activist Frederick Douglass’ newspaper to attract clients. Being aware of the biases of the day, she continued the use of the name C.E. Ray. Unfortunately, it was just too hard, and she had to close her firm. Never being one to sit idle, she became a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Ms. Ray was part of the women’s suffrage movement, as well as being an early member of the NAACP.
She died in NY in January 1911. Her legacy of firsts should never be forgotten.
Charlotte E. Ray, I thank you for being the ORIGINAL Legal Diva