Barkan, who has conducted interviews with several 2020 Democratic contenders, asks Harris about the day she learned her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, cancer diagnosis, a topic Harris talks about frequently on the campaign trail.
“She took our hands and she said she’d been diagnosed with colon cancer,” says Harris, recalling her mother talking to her and her sister, Maya Harris. “That was one of the worst days of my life, truly. But, you know, it is also, as, you know, and your family knows…”
She tears up as she recalls seeing her mother explain that she will die after cancer diagnosis. Gopalan, who raised her daughters as a single mother, would not live to see her daughter run for President.
The California senator attempts explain her vision of health care. “It is about going through a system that is complicated,” she says and continues with, “There are elements of it that work, and elements of it that did not work.”
Barkan, 35, was diagnosed in 2016. He is now almost fully paralyzed and conducting the interviews with the aid of a computer that tracks his eye movements and then asks his questions in a synthetic voice.
“You know Ady, I knew this was gonna happen!” says Harris, wiping her eyes with a tissue. Harris laughs to soothe any awkwardness.
“I was like, ‘I am not gonna tear up.’ I promised myself I was not going to tear up. But you got me,” Harris says.