Senator Kamala Harris has formally accepted the Democratic vice-presidential nomination, becoming the first woman of color to run on a major party presidential ticket. We feature part of her historic speech.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! We are breaking with convention. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.
Senator Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic vice-presidential nomination Wednesday night, becoming the first woman of color to run on a major party presidential ticket. Harris is the daughter of immigrants, an Indian mother and a Jamaican father. This is part of her acceptance speech.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: I am here tonight as a testament to the dedication of generations before me — women and men who believed so fiercely in the promise of equality, liberty and justice for all.
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, and we celebrate the women who fought for that right. Yet so many of the Black women who helped secure that victory were still prohibited from voting long after its ratification.
But they were undeterred. Without fanfare or recognition, they organized and testified and rallied and marched and fought, not just for their vote, but for a seat at the table. These women and the generations that followed worked to make democracy and opportunity real in the lives of all of us who followed. They paved the way for the trailblazing leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And these women inspired us to pick up the torch and fight on — women like Mary Church Terrell, Mary McLeod Bethune, Fannie Lou Hamer and Diane Nash, Constance Baker Motley and the great Shirley Chisholm. We’re not often taught their stories, but, as Americans, we all stand on their shoulders.
And there’s another woman, whose name isn’t known, whose story isn’t shared, another woman whose shoulders I stand on. And that’s my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris. She came here from India at age 19 to pursue her dream of curing cancer. At the University of California, Berkeley, she met my father, Donald Harris, who had come from Jamaica to study economics. They fell in love, in that most American way, while marching together for justice in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. In the streets of Oakland and Berkeley, I got a stroller’s-eye view of people getting into what the great John Lewis called “good trouble.”
When I was 5, my parents split, and my mother raised us mostly on her own. Like so many mothers, she worked around the clock to make it work, packing lunches before we woke up and paying bills after we went to bed, helping us with homework at the kitchen table and shuttling us to church for choir practice. She made it look easy, though it never was.
My mother instilled in my sister Maya and me the values that would chart the course of our lives. She raised us to be proud, strong Black women, and she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage. …
She taught us to be conscious and compassionate about the struggles of all people, to believe public service is a noble cause, and the fight for justice is a shared responsibility. That led me to become a lawyer, a district attorney, attorney general and a United States senator. And at every step of the way, I’ve been guided by the words I spoke from the first time I stood in a courtroom: “Kamala Harris, for the people.”
I have fought for children and survivors of sexual assault. I fought against transnational criminal organizations. I took on the biggest banks and helped take down one of the biggest for-profit colleges. I know a predator when I see one.
My mother taught me that service to others gives life purpose and meaning. And, oh, how I wish she were here tonight, but I know she’s looking down on me from above. I keep thinking about that 25-year-old Indian woman, all of five feet tall, who gave birth to me at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, California. On that day, she probably could have never imagined that I would be standing before you now and speaking these words: I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States of America.
AMY GOODMAN: During her Democratic National Convention acceptance address, Senator Kamala Harris addressed the coronavirus crisis, naming President Trump directly.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods. If you’re a parent struggling with your child’s remote learning, or you’re a teacher struggling on the other side of that screen, you know what we’re doing right now is not working. And we are a nation that is grieving, grieving the loss of life, the loss of jobs, the loss of opportunities, the loss of normalcy and, yes, the loss of certainty.
And while this virus touches us all, we’ve got to be honest: It is not an equal opportunity offender. Black, Latino and Indigenous people are suffering and dying disproportionately. And this is not a coincidence. It is the effect of structural racism; of inequities in education and technology, healthcare and housing, job security and transportation; the injustice in reproductive and maternal healthcare, in the excessive use of force by police, and in our broader criminal justice system. This virus, it has no eyes, and yet it knows exactly how we see each other and how we treat each other.
And let’s be clear: There is no vaccine for racism. We have got to do the work, for George Floyd, for Breonna Taylor, for the lives of too many others to name, for our children and for all of us. We’ve got to do the work to fulfill that promise of equal justice under law, because here’s the thing: None of us are free until all of us are free.
So, we’re at an inflection point. The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot.
And here’s the thing: We can do better and deserve so much more. We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better, and do the important work, a president who will bring all of us together — Black, white, Latino, Asian, Indigenous — to achieve the future we collectively want. We must elect Joe Biden.