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Hastings Alumni Mag-Spring 2013

“We need to be smart in the ways we are addressing immigration, and it needs to be based on what is in the best interests of our community, not driven by ideology and emotion.” of California—protecting the rights of consumers, fighting to preserve the state’s natural resources, and supporting efforts to ensure marriage equality for all Californians (her office recently filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court opposing Prop. 8). Born to Make Waves No matter the case, Harris is driven by the law’s power to right wrongs and balance the scales of justice. As she puts it, “Lawyers have a profound ability and responsibility to be a voice for the vulnerable and the voiceless.” It’s a point of view that’s virtually in her DNA. An Oakland native, Harris grew up amid the 22 spring 2013 social unrest and political activism of the 1960s and ‘70s and describes her divorced parents as civil rights activists. Her father, a Jamaican immigrant, went on to teach economics at Stanford. Her mother, who raised her, was Indian and became a leading breast cancer researcher. “My maternal grandfather was one of the original freedom fighters in India,” says Harris, recalling her earliest memories of her family’s periodic trips there. She had the honor of joining him and his friends, all retired public servants, on daily walks on the beach. “They would debate the role of government and the need to fight corruption,” she says. “Those conversations had a tremendous influence on me.” From College Ac tivist to Career Prosecutor Having grown up “surrounded by people who were always passionately fighting for this thing called ‘justice,’ ” Harris once told a reporter, “I was ultimately inspired to make my own contribution to this noble cause through public service.” That sense of purpose led her first to Howard University in Washington, D.C., America’s oldest historically black university, then to UC Hastings, which suited her aspirations and lifelong bent toward activism. She served as president of the Black Law


Hastings Alumni Mag-Spring 2013
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