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Kamala Harris Is Running for President in 2020

She is the first African-American woman to announce a 2020 presidential candidacy.

Sen. Kamala Harris has announced her candidacy for the 2020 presidential election.

The announcement came with a video posted to her Twitter account while she appeared on Good Morning America.

"Justice. Decency. Equality. Freedom. Democracy. These aren't just words. They're the values we as Americans cherish. And they're all on the line now," she says in the video.

"The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values. That's why I'm running for president of the United States. I'm running to lift those voices, to bring our voices together."

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 6: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) questions Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill September 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy on the court left by retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Harris, who has served as the junior U.S. senator for California since 2017, and previously as district attorney of San Francisco, and then California's attorney general, is the first African-American woman to enter the race, and the fourth woman, joining fellow Democrats Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

She chose today, January 21, to announce her campaign, which will officially kick off in Oakland next Sunday, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as well as the fact that 47 years ago this week, Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman to run for president, launched her campaign, CNN reports.

Harris has consistently supported LGBTQ rights throughout her career.

As California's attorney general, she refused to defend Proposition 8, the state's ban on same-sex marriage, and also refused to certify a "Kill the Gays" ballot initiative that would have instituted the death penalty for homosexuality.

When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, Harris officiated the wedding of Prop 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier.

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 28: Same-sex couple Sandy Stier (C) and Kriss Perry (R) are married at San Francisco City Hall by California Attorney General Kamala Harris on June 28, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted California's ban on same-sex marriages just three days after the Supreme Court ruled that supporters of the ban, Proposition 8, could not defend it before the high court. California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered all counties in the state to begin issuing licenses immediately. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

She has faced criticism, however, for arguing on behalf of the state that two transgender inmates, Shiloh Quine and Michelle-Lael Norsworthy, should be withheld from having the gender confirmation surgery they requested, and were prescribed, while serving out their sentences.

While her supporters claim she had no choice but to defend the decision, as she was forced to represent her client's position on the matter (the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation), opponents of the move point to her decisions not to defend Prop 8 and not to certify the "Kill the Gays" ballot initiative.

"Even where the decision is made to defend an unconstitutional practice, there’s nothing that dictates the tactics of that defense, particularly once a court has found there are likely ongoing constitutional violations," said Jon Davidson, legal director for Lambda Legal, at the time.

"The choice to appeal a preliminary court order and to seek to delay its implementation is just that—a choice. It’s also a very unfortunate one, given that what is at stake here is potentially life-saving treatment that is widely recognized as medically necessary for some people suffering from gender dysphoria."

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 23: U.S. Senator Kamala Harris rides during the 2018 San Francisco Pride Parade on June 24, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Arun Nevader/Getty Images)

"We’ve known her since she was the DA in San Francisco, and then of course, when she as attorney general was more engaged than any attorney general has been with us in the LGBTQ community," Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California told the Los Angeles Blade. "[She] really engaged with us and has a really strong commitment and understanding of our issues."

Zbur also noted Harris, as attorney general, appointed a trans woman of color, Mariana Marroquin, to the California Racial & Identity Profiling Advisory Board last year.

In addition to Harris, Warren, Gabbard, and Gillibrand, Julián Castro, Rep. John Delaney, and Richard Ojeda have all officially announced their 2020 presidential campaigns for the Democratic Party's nomination.

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