Kamala Harris: I'm Grateful That Black Women Have Had My Back

"Black women hold the power in this election. We need to get our families, our neighbors, our whole villages to the polls." — Sen. Kamala Harris, Democratic vice presidential nominee

2020 has been a lot. All at once, we are experiencing a deadly pandemic, an economic recession, a climate crisis, and an overdue reckoning with systemic racism. And nobody understands the pain of these crises—and the need for a new president—better than Black women.

Donald Trump’s failure to get the coronavirus under control has cost more than 230,000 lives—with Black Americans dying at two times the rate of others. It has led to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression—hitting communities of color the hardest. Roughly one in five Black adults report not having enough to eat, one in four Black renters say they’re behind on rent, and over the summer a staggering 40% of Black-owned businesses said they didn’t think they would be able to reopen. 

Back in January, President Trump knew that this virus posed a severe threat to our country—and he lied about it. Nine months into this pandemic, he still doesn’t have a plan to control it. Instead, he’s trying to get the Supreme Court to end the Affordable Care Act, which would rip away people’s health insurance and remove protections for the millions of Black people with preexisting conditions. 

After almost four years in office, Donald Trump has no record to stand on when it comes to the Black community. As usual, he’s all talk. Instead of even attempting to tackle our challenges and lift us up, we have a President who stokes fear and division. Who fans the flames of racism and refuses to condemn white supremacists or say Black lives matter. 

We cannot afford four more years of Donald Trump. We must elect Joe Biden.

Joe and I have a plan to contain this virus with a national strategy that includes masks, widespread free testing, contact tracing, and a free and safe vaccine. We’ll make sure our frontline workers, many of whom are Black, have the personal protective equipment and support they need. We will provide schools and businesses with clear, evidence-based guidelines to reopen safely—and the resources to do so.

We will build back our economy to support working families. We’ll eliminate the Trump tax cuts for big corporations and the top 1%, and won’t raise taxes one cent on folks making less than $400,000. We’ll invest in lower healthcare costs and better schools, build on the ACA with a Medicare-like public option, and fight for reproductive justice by addressing maternal mortality among Black women, codifying Roe v. Wade, and repealing the Hyde Amendment.

The pandemic has exposed how Black women shoulder much of the burden of caregiving of children and aging loved ones. Joe and I will ensure access to paid family and medical leave, and expand childcare and universal preschool. We will treat caregivers and early childhood educators—most of whom are women of color—with the respect and dignity they deserve, with better pay and benefits, training and career ladders, and other workplace rights. 

We’ll work to root out the systemic racism in our courtrooms, our prisons, and our criminal justice system. In our first 100 days in office, we will create a national police oversight commission. We’ll get every police department in the country to undertake a comprehensive review of their hiring, training, and de-escalation practices, and work with local police departments on real community policing. We’ll investigate systemic police misconduct and require departments to reform. 

In our first 100 days in office, we will create a national police oversight commission.

Above all, we will work to unite the American people—people of all ages, races, and backgrounds—around the belief that we can make progress together if we commit to the ideals that we share.

But Joe and I can’t do this alone—and we’re grateful that Black women across the country have had our backs. They are doing their jobs, caring for their families, and mobilizing voters to get out the vote and win this election. And we need you, too. We need you to vote in numbers nobody has ever seen.

Black women hold the power in this election. So we need to talk to everybody in our lives, including young people, to encourage them to vote. We need to get our families, our neighbors, our whole villages to the polls. 

That’s why generations of Black women marched and organized and fought to give us this right. Many never got to vote themselves. But they pressed on knowing that, one day, Black women would be a force in our democracy. That, when it mattered most, we would be the ones to mobilize our communities and vote for what’s right: honesty and integrity, decency and dignity, equality and justice.

Generations of Black women marched and organized and fought to give us this right…knowing that, one day, Black women would be a force in our democracy.

Those are the shoulders that I stand on—that we all stand on. And we owe it to those brave, bold Black women who came before us to meet this moment with the same energy and determination that they met theirs. To paraphrase one of my heroes, Constance Baker Motley, the ideals of political equality have a moral luster that’s everlasting. Those ideals are what we fight for.

This is our time. Let’s use our vote, our power, to choose the America we can be—and the future our children and grandchildren deserve.

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