Presidential candidate Kamala Harris has a reputation in standing firm in what she believes in.
According to the Washington Post, the Californian senator participated in a sit-in during her first year in college at Howard University in 1983.
The president of the university, James Cheek, decided to expel Janice McKnight, the editor of the Hilltop student newspaper. At the time, McKnight had published a very controversial story about a university employee that was accusing the school of discrimination. School officials claim they wanted to expel McKnight, because she “allegedly” provided untrue information on her school application and it had nothing to do with the article.
Between 150 to 200 students, including Harris, participated in a sit-in to protest the matter on the administration building floor to show support.
As a result, McKnight was reinstated.
This protest that she participated in showed how important it was to be grouped with African-American students who stood for something, and “felt unstoppable.”
“Kamala had a fearlessness that, if it was something she believed in, she wanted to be actively involved, and actively engaged, and not sit on the sidelines,” Gwendolyn Whitfield, Harris’ classmate and friend who was encouraged by the presidential candidate to participate in the protest told staff writer, David Montgomery. “She was unwavering in her commitment. That’s what I remember. It wasn’t reckless, but it was just, you know, this is what we should do.”
Although, Whitfield said it was a “scary thing to do,” Harris admitted to Montgomery that the “activism felt natural.”
“I was born in that,” she said while at Howard back in February. “My parents were active in the movement. So this was very familiar territory to me.”
During her first year, Harris was very active on campus. She ran for her first elected office and won to serve as the freshman representative on the Liberal Arts Student Council and she also participated in demonstrations against apartheid.
Harris credits Howard and her parents for shaping her into becoming the person she came to be, standing up for what’s right and her “political passion.”