Childhood friend sang Jackson 5 on school bus with Kamala Harris in Berkeley

Kamala Harris went to elementary school in Berkeley Hills and the school is filled with so much pride over her historic win.

Harris is featured in a mural at Thousand Oaks Elementary School.  Families were out taking pictures a day after her historic victory to become the first woman and first person of color vice president.

“It was incredible,” said Harris’s childhood friend Carole Porter. “I just started crying. It was just so very emotional and so very personal to me because of knowing her.”

Porter grew up with Harris. In a breakout memorable moment, Harris spoke of being bused to Thousand Oaks Elementary School every day in the 1960s. Porter sat next to Harris on the bus singing Jackson 5 songs.

“When she said what she said, it was just so powerful and so true and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, that’s us,' ” said Porter.

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Porter recalls Harris, the daughter of immigrants born to an Indian mother and Jamaican father, being studious coming from modest means. A characteristic she saw in Harris back then and now is a person with intent who listened. Harris like her mother wanted to serve.

“She’s worked so hard,” said Porter. “She’s walked in so many rooms where they have not wanted her voice, not wanted her at the table or closed the door because she’s a woman of color.”

“As a leader, she’s setting it, she’s starting it right now for people to follow,” said teacher Marvin Reed.

Harris’ win will be part of Reed’s lesson plan. He’s the only Black teacher at Thousand Oaks Elementary. He plans to have his students watch Harris’ victory speech.

“I did think this would happen, I just didn't know when it would happen,” said 8-year-old Berkeley student Aaliyah Watkins.

It’s a pivotal moment especially for young girls of color giving them hope that they can be anything in America they want to be.

“I feel like America is going to have a great champion for them which to me is really amazing,” said Porter. “I know her mother is dancing in heaven. I know she is.”

Vice presidents often run for the presidency. Long-time friends can see that in Harris’s future. For right now, Harris is focused on the work at hand including the pandemic and the economy.