Kamala Harris to Take Oath on Bible From 'Second Mom' at Inaugural Ceremony

As the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris gets underway on Wednesday, Harris will be sworn in using a treasured family Bible that once belonged to a family friend considered a "second mother" to Harris.

The late Regina Shelton took care of Harris and her sister Maya at Shelton's home in Berkeley, California whenever their mother worked late in the lab as a student at UC Berkeley, according to The Mercury News.

Harris previously described Shelton as "one of the smartest people I've ever known, and she lived by the belief that you always lend a hand to those in need. The Sheltons devoted themselves to ensuring that neighborhood kids got off to the best possible start in life," in an essay for Bustle published in 2019.

"Mrs. Shelton would bring her Bible to church every Sunday. Sitting alongside her, I was introduced to the teachings of that Bible. My earliest memories were of a loving God, a God who asked us to 'speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves' and to 'defend the rights of the poor and needy.'

"This is where I learned that 'faith' is a verb, something we must live and demonstrate through our actions," Harris wrote at the time.

Saniyyah Smith, Shelton's granddaughter who inherited the Bible after Shelton passed away, told California's KTVU: "It's just really an honor that Kamala chose to use this Bible for such an historic moment.

"It's a reminder that Kamala continues to stay grounded in her upbringing and the things instilled in her and the strong women she grew up with," Smith told The Mercury News. "I'm just so proud of her and so grateful to be able to see how she continues to honor my grandmother's legacy."

Peter Monroe, another family friend of Harris who lived just doors away from Shelton's home, told KTVU: "Mostly all of her inner circle, we all have that in common. We were all raised by strong women who all had something in common. They all lived for their children.

"Every time she's been sworn-in to every office that she's been voted into, Kamala has used my Aunt Regina's bible," Monroe added.

Harris carried the same Bible into the U.S. Capitol when she was sworn in as a senator for California in 2017.

The binding of the weathered family Bible is kept in place with tape and Shelton's name is engraved in gold in the lower right corner of the book, according to The Mercury News.

Harris is expected to place her hands on the Bible of Shelton as well as one that belonged to the late Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court justice, during her swearing-in ceremony as she becomes the first Black, Indian American, female vice president of the U.S.

About a dozen family friends of Harris, including Smith, have been invited to the inauguration this week, KTVU reported.

The inaugural ceremony begins at 10 a.m. ET. Both Biden and Harris will participate in several military ceremonies, such as the Pass in Review ritual, following the ceremony.

The "Parade Across America" takes place from 3:15 p.m. ET, "which will be televised for the American people and feature diverse, dynamic performances in communities across the country," according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) website.

Later in the evening, the Celebrating America television program, broadcast from 8:30 p.m. local time, will feature remarks from Biden and Harris as well as words and musical performances from a host of celebrities.

Washington, D.C. COVID-19 memorial Kamala Harris 2021
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks at a memorial for victims of the COVID-19 pandemic at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on the eve of the inauguration. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images