Kamala Harris’ niece has advised how her associate gave up his high-flying tech job in San Francisco to be a stay-at-home father to their two daughters, and free her to write feminist kids’s books and run her business.
Meena Harris, 36, advised The Times how Nikolas Ajagu, who she met whereas working within the tech trade, determined he wished to be a full-time father to Amara, 4, and two-year-old Leela.
Ajagu left his job because the Global Head of Partnerships at Facebook to elevate their kids, she advised the paper. It was unclear if he has since returned: his LinkedIn web page says he nonetheless works for the company.
On the day of the inauguration gained reward from sneakerheads for his fashionable $2,000 Dior Air Jordan 1s.
‘We don’t ascribe to the standard gender position factor in our home,’ she stated.
Meena Harris, 36, stated her husband Nikolas Ajagu, who she met whereas working within the tech trade, determined he wished to be a full-time father to Amara, 4, and two-year-old Leela
Meena Harris and her associate Nikolas Ajagu are dad and mom to Amara, 4, and Leela, two
Meena Harris is pictured with her aunt Kamala – the primary feminine, black and South Asian VP
Ajagu, pictured on Wednesday on the inauguration, impressed with his uncommon $2,000 sneakers
‘Thinking about how I’m elevating my children and the way I can cross on the teachings and worth methods that I used to be raised with, I do surprise how I’m going to do it.
‘We let some males in alongside the way in which – my children aren’t rising up with an all-female household.’
Meena was raised by ladies alone, and advised the paper she had ‘solely come to notice, over the course of my life, simply how distinctive my upbringing was’.
She added: ‘A feminist family is all I’ve ever recognized.
‘Even the thought of males in energy wasn’t one thing I actually learnt about till I acquired out into the world of labor. Our little household unit was simply ladies, fierce ladies: my grandmother, my mum, my aunt and me.’
Meena, Kamala and Maya: the household was raised by Shyamala Gopalan, who died in 2009
Her grandmother was Shyamala Gopalan, who died in 2009.
She was a scientist and civil rights activist who graduated from the University of Delhi at 19, and, to keep away from an organized marriage, went to Berkeley to research endocrinology and vitamin, turned a breast most cancers researcher and served on the US President’s Special Commission on Breast Cancer.
She divorced her Jamaican husband, Donald Harris, when her daughters Kamala and Maya have been seven and 5, and raised them as a single dad or mum in Oakland, California.
Meena’s mom, Maya, 53, was a single mom at 17.
She turned senior coverage adviser on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential marketing campaign and now works for Kamala, 56 – the primary black particular person, the primary South Asian and the primary girl ever turn out to be vice chairman.
Maya in 1998 married Tony West, former affiliate attorney-general of the United States and now chief authorized officer for Uber.
Meena met her associate whereas working within the tech trade, after coaching in regulation
Ajagu left his job because the Global Head of Partnerships at Facebook to elevate their kids
‘That was my world,’ says Harris. ‘And as we added extra individuals to the household, I used to be nonetheless very protecting, and clear who raised me: that is my household.’
She stated her childhood house was a place of ‘love, laughter, meals and politics, and giving a rattling about what is going on on on this planet’.
She stated her grandmother ‘did not have a lot of persistence for mediocrity’.
Ambitious Girl is Meena’s second guide
‘There was positively some powerful love.
‘She all the time taught me, ‘You’re going to have to work twice as laborious. Nothing’s going to be handed to you.’ And there was no coddling – we did not have a children’ desk on huge events. You sat on the adults’ desk.
‘My mum and aunt have been raised in the identical approach, with an expectation that a little one, regardless of their age, can perceive and may be a a part of grownup conversations. Or, on the very least, study and pay attention.’
Meena herself, like her mom, is a lawyer.
She graduated from Stanford and Harvard Law, and has beforehand labored within the coverage departments of Slack and Uber.
In addition to writing kids’s books she now serves because the founder and CEO of the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign, a corporation impressed by Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman poem.
Her first guide, Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea, revealed in June final year, was primarily based on her mom and aunt’s childhood, and contained classes about activism and community-building.
She says that her new guide, Ambitious Girl, is designed to encourage younger kids.
Kamala is pictured holding Amara’s hand on inauguration day as Meena (proper) walks alongside
Amara and Leela wore faux-fur coats and Doc Marten boots for the Washington DC ceremony
‘Growing up, I used to be taught that ambition is one thing to have a good time, that it means goal and dedication, having a huge thought and operating after it, chasing your goals and having confidence in your self,’ she advised the paper.
‘When I acquired older, I noticed that’s not what society teaches us. Instead, it’s one thing used to critique ladies: formidable ladies are ‘power-hungry’ or ‘sharp-elbowed’ – issues we don’t say about males.
‘It’s one thing that I feel ladies are taught to disguise.
‘I do know a number of ladies who’ve political ambitions and need to run for office, however they really feel that they are not supposed to inform individuals, that you must downplay your huge goals. As ladies, we’re taught to disguise ambition, diminish it or preserve it secret – that it is one thing to be ashamed of.’
Her aunt’s election to vice-president is, Meena stated, a enhance for all ladies who’ve been advised they have been ‘an excessive amount of’.
‘We’ve damaged that tumbler ceiling,’ she stated.
‘Ambition succeeded. We gained.’