SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Meena Harris — a mother, a social justice entrepreneur and the niece of Sen. Kamala Harris — hopes her new book “Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea” teaches important lessons of unity and resilience and the power of strong black girls and women.
She says the central message of the children’s book is “that no one can do everything but everyone can do something.”READ MORE: UPDATE: 1 Dead, 5 Wounded in Saturday Evening Shooting at Oakland's Lake Merritt
“I think it’s a really important lesson around community, the power of community and, importantly, the power of two little black girls who are the central characters and who we know are still under-represented on bookshelves,” she told KPIX.
Harris never thought she’d release her first book in the middle of a pandemic and social unrest but its message has proven to be very timely and universal. She hopes it empowers people to bring about positive change in their community.
The children’s book is based on the real life tale of how two sisters — her aunt Kamala and her mom Maya — persevere in the face of disappointment.
“A lot of parents are looking for tools and building blocks to think about how to talk to their children about doing something, about caring, about giving a damn,” she said.
Harris did not grow up reading stories about girls of color. As a mom of two, she struggled to find such books to read to her daughters. “Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea” changes that.
Harris says she grew up surrounded by strong, intelligent women.READ MORE: Pre-Pandemic Saturday Night Vibe Returns To San Francisco Bars, Restaurants
“I also grew up in a household where I was sort of talked to like an adult,” she said. “I was an only child, kind of a super only child and I think that that was also really important, right, knowing what was going on in the world, talking about what happened in the news that day at the dinner table.”
Her advice to parents who are struggling to explain racial injustice to their children is to be honest, using age-appropriate language.
The Oakland native, lawyer and CEO of the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign recently produced a “Black Lives Matter” sweatshirt.
More than 1,000 sold in the first 24 hours. All proceeds benefit the non-profit organization Black Futures Lab. The popular “Phenomenally Black” shirts, as seen on multiple celebrities including Kerry Washington and Octavia Spencer, also share similar messages of support.
As the country looks to who Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will choose as his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris is under serious consideration.
“I think she’s absolutely someone that we need right now, that our country needs right now. I believed that when she ran for president as well,” Meena Harris said.MORE NEWS: San Francisco Police Arrest Suspect In String Of Mission District Retail Thefts