Kyra Harris Bolden Talks Michigan’s Supreme Court Race and Motherhood on the Campaign Trail

Michigan Supreme Court candidate Kyra Harris Bolden was pregnant for half her campaign. Find out how she juggles it all, and what this race means to her.
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Photograph courtesy of Krya Harris Bolden.

When State Representative Kyra Harris Bolden, a candidate for the Michigan Supreme Court, is not out making history on the campaign trail, she is learning how to be a first-time mother to her 10-week-old daughter, Emerson Portia Bolden.

Harris Bolden, 34, describes her days as “very busy” between being a new mother and campaigning for the 2022 election.

“My husband drops our baby off to my mother while I get dressed for work, and then he heads to work,” Harris Bolden says. “I usually have, on average, five events to go to each day. I face time my baby right after I get dressed, and then it’s pretty much events and interviews back-to-back until about 8 o’clock at night.”

Somedays, Harris Bolden will find herself nurturing her baby in the afternoon while in between events, but in the evenings, she is back on mom and wife duty. She tries to arrive home in time to have dinner with her husband around 7 p.m. After that, mommy life takes over. When baby Emerson wakes up in the late-night hours, the politician is on-call for the newborn’s nightly routines.

“Being on the road, I always have an extreme amount of mommy guilt,” she says. “Thank God my husband had paid paternity leave for two-months so I was able to be on the campaign trails.”

For around half of her campaign run, Harris Bolden was pregnant with Emerson. It was difficult, but ultimately her daughter is what drives her candidacy.

“Running a state-wide campaign pregnant I would probably say is not ideal,” she laughs. “By the grace of God, I had a wonderful pregnancy. I did not have morning sickness, (but) I did have strong cravings and aversions to things at times. For the most part, when I was sitting down, she was beating me up because she really liked me being on my feet. People would tell me to sit down, and I told them every time I would sit down, she would be fighting me.”

Prior to her pregnancy with Emerson, Harris Bolden suffered devasting pregnancy complications.

“I have had a miscarriage previously, I suffered from uterine fibroids, and I have been very vocal about that,” she explains “So, I didn’t even know if I was able to have children.”

As soon as Harris Bolden was safe in her second trimester, she realized she could contribute more to her campaign. Months later, on August 15, 2022, she and her husband, Dr. Gregory Bolden II, welcomed their 6-pound daughter. Bolden later made a surprise appearance at the Michigan Democratic Party’s State Nomination Convention in Lansing, just 10 days after giving birth to her daughter, and received a standing ovation.

Being a new mom and running for Michigan Supreme Court takes a lot of work, but she says that she’s able to do it with the support of her family.

“This seat is so crucial to protecting justice for generations because the Michigan Supreme Court will determine what Michigan looks like,” she says. “It’s the final word on everyone’s rights in Michigan. If I can do more, I owe that to my daughter and to the children of Michigan.”

Fighting for justice

Harris Bolden, who would be the first Black woman to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court if elected, is a member of the Michigan House of Representatives for the 35th House District. She held that seat since 2018. She is also an attorney.

These days, she is making history as the first Black woman to serve on Michigan’s seven-member high court, which currently has no Black justices.

“I like to think of myself as a fighter for justice,” says Harris Bolden. “I think that kind of defines my personality. If you talk to my mother, she would say ‘that’s not fair’ was my favorite phrase growing up. I always had a very strong sense of justice.”

Harris Bolden is a life-long resident of Southfield. She grew up in a majority minority neighborhood where she was able to see people that looked like her, but it wasn’t until Bolden went off to college at Grand Valley State University that she found out what it truly meant to be a minority.

“Before my great-grandmother passed away, she shared with me the story of my great-grandfather from 1939,” she says. “My great-grandfather, Jesse Lee Bond, was lynched in Tennessee. He was asking for a receipt from a store owner and a lynch-mob ensued. He was beaten, and castrated, and thrown into the local river. The coroner deemed it an accidental drowning as a result of that determination. His murderers walked free.”

She adds, “It wasn’t that long ago when government sanctioned injustice was the norm.”

Because of the history of injustice in her family, Harris Bolden says she will fight for justice.

“That’s why it’s so important for me to protect justice for the future of my child, and for all the children of Michigan, because the decisions that the Michigan Supreme Court makes, and will make in the future, will absolutely determine the type of Michigan that our children, and our children’s children, live in,” she says.

Furthermore, running for Michigan Supreme Court, and doing so while pregnant, has been an eye-opening experience for not only Harris Bolden, but also for women across the state.

“I didn’t realize the impact my candidacy would have on people,” she explains. “It has been overwhelming. People are happy to see that someone young wants to be involved in the process. Since I ran the race pregnant, so many women have come up to me and told me how much my representation means to them. I have been brought to tears on the trails.”

Learn more about Kyra Harris Bolden at boldenforjustice.com.


For more on the Michigan politics in 2022, visit HourDetroit.com

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