Sep 17, 2020
Kamala Harris Campaign Event Transcript September 17: ‘Sister to Sister: Mobilizing in Action’
Kamala Harris attended a ‘Sister to Sister: Mobilizing in Action’ campaign event on September 17. Read the transcript of the event with Harris’ remarks here.
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Oh, my goodness. [crosstalk 00:00:04]
Senator Kamala Harris: (00:03)
I thought everyone was going to [crosstalk 00:00:14].
Speaker 1: (00:14)
We’re going to hold until the press comes in before we begin the program. Okay?
Senator Kamala Harris: (00:18)
Okay. Hey, everybody.
Cherelle Parker: (00:19)
So, Senator, so you see the AKA to Delta.
Senator Kamala Harris: (00:21)
Cherelle Parker: (00:21)
The Delta, listen, the Zetas right here. The AKAs here. Links, Jack and Jill, everybody. They’re here.
Senator Kamala Harris: (00:24)
Cherelle Parker: (00:24)
Senator Kamala Harris: (00:35)
All together. Okay, smile. Let’s see. [crosstalk 00:00:42] She says, “I’m right here for the photo.” Yay. Thank you. Yes. [crosstalk 00:00:56]
Senator Kamala Harris: (00:56)
Well, isn’t this wonderful.
Yes, it is wonderful. [crosstalk 00:01:01]
Cherelle Parker: (01:06)
Senator, they came and it took them about just a few hours. You wouldn’t believe it. They came and did all of this. My favorite is over here. We need justice. We need action now.
Senator Kamala Harris: (01:17)
We need action, we need reform. Science over fiction.
Cherelle Parker: (01:18)
Yeah. And the, here, the sister to sister. We are really excited. [crosstalk 00:01:26]
Senator Kamala Harris: (01:26)
Building back better.
Cherelle Parker: (01:27)
Senator Kamala Harris: (01:32)
And the Converse. [crosstalk 00:01:32]
Cherelle Parker: (01:32)
They got the sneakers up there. So, listen, the whole block is just so happy you’re here.
Senator Kamala Harris: (01:32)
Cherelle Parker: (01:39)
You hear me? [crosstalk 00:01:39] We going to win. You hear me? We going to win.
Senator Kamala Harris: (01:39)
I know we will.
Cherelle Parker: (01:39)
We going to win.
Senator Kamala Harris: (01:42)
It’s not going to be [crosstalk 00:01:42].
Cherelle Parker: (01:42)
But you did something unconventional, you came to the neighborhood. How many like you have done that?
Come on now. [crosstalk 00:01:48] Come on now.
Cherelle Parker: (01:54)
To the neighborhood. Hey, we’re ready. We can get started, Cherelle. We can take our seats.
Senator Kamala Harris: (02:02)
Sit, take our seats. Okay.
Looking good and feeling good today, and how excited we are to welcome the Vice Presidential nominee for the Democratic party. Say her name right, Kamala Harris. Yes. And not just an ordinary woman. This woman said, if she’s coming to Philadelphia, bring her straight to the hood, bring her right to see the people, but that’s the Oakland in you standing up and representing for everybody.
Now you’ve got three women up here with these interesting names, and we like people to get them right. That is Cherelle Parker. Councilwoman Cherelle Parker. Yes, it is. And you know, the Kamala Harris, and the Cheryl Lee, there you go. You know, you said, what? I know how to say that. Thank you very much. Thank you. All of you are so wonderful and so special. And you know, today you broke up the Jimmy Choos, but you inspired all of us to be comfortable. Yes.
A little bit of Nike here, but to see all the … a lot of Converses right there. Feet on the ground. Represent. Okay, you got your pedicure showing off. That’s all right. But there’s some wonderful questions that some of you wanted to ask, but you may be flanked by the Crimson and Cream Delta Sigma Theta sorority. You were flanked by the deltas back in November too, but your sorors are also here in the pink and green to give you that absolute love. So I’m going to say please, councilwoman, you take the first question.
Cherelle Parker: (04:13)
I sure will. Listen, Soror Cherelle, no microaggressions here today. Our first, first question is Sara Lomax-Reese. Sara Lomax-Reese to the microphone, please.
Sara Lomax-Reese: (04:29)
Good afternoon, Senator. Thanks so much for coming to Philly. I’m with WURD radio in Philadelphia, black talk radio. So I’m going to read my question to be direct. We know that you will be the VP of the entire nation, but what are you committed to do specifically to address the historic inequities around race and racism for black Americans if the Biden/Harris ticket is elected?
Senator Kamala Harris: (04:55)
First of all, let me just say how honored and excited I am to be with these phenomenal sisters.
Senator Kamala Harris: (05:02)
To my right into my left, and upon which my eyes lay, because truly we all know that none of us sit where we do at this moment were not for the sisterhood. Were it not for those incredible and phenomenal women who every step of our lives have stood with us, stood by us, encouraged us, laughed with us when we tripped, but helped us get back up every step of the way. Pray for us, dance with us, all of that. So I just want to first thank everybody for this afternoon and for the sisterhood.
Yes. Thank you.
Senator Kamala Harris: (05:48)
So we’ve got 47 days, and it is within our power to make a decision about the outcome of this election. It is within our power. We know that that’s why we’re we’re here together today. And the point of it all for me, and I know for us is that we need to define the win and we need to be clear about that definition today. Is the win defined by defeating Donald Trump or is the win defined by winning?
Senator Kamala Harris: (06:22)
And I say that because if you use that first definition, then the job is over the day were inaugurated. If you go by that second definition, which is what I am propelled to do this for, then the job begins that day. So then to the question, what is the work that needs to be done?
Senator Kamala Harris: (06:46)
And you know, the one thing about this COVID, which is why we’re all now wearing these masks and we’re not hugging each other when we’re sitting so far apart. I think about this pandemic in many ways, including this, it has been an accelerator. It has made for people who things were bad, made them worse. It has accelerated the disparities. It has highlighted the injustices. And in one way, perhaps there is then an opportunity for more people to see what some of us have been knowing for generations around issues like systemic racism and longstanding disparities that are perpetuated by systems and by people.
Senator Kamala Harris: (07:32)
So to answer the question, what needs to be done, I think of it a number of ways. There are the issues that we need to address in our education system, in our criminal justice system, in our economic systems and our public health system, and not one to the exclusion of the others. So I’ll start with this, because I was just earlier, just before I came here visiting with a number of the small businesses in Northwest, and in Philadelphia 90% of the business community are small businesses and about half are black businesses.
Senator Kamala Harris: (08:13)
So what we know is that when you look at who is part of the lifeblood of most communities, in particular our communities, it is the economic life, but it is our small businesses. But one of the traditional issues that we have had in order to nurture the entrepreneurship, that is part of the community is access to capital, meaning a lack of access to capital. One of our, in terms of a Biden/Harris ministration, one of our biggest areas of focus is what we need to do around access to capital.
Senator Kamala Harris: (08:46)
So we will put a $100 billion targeted at black and brown communities and to low interest loans for small businesses that are working in the community. Because again, access to capital is simply about just giving people the ability to start up. Then the ingenuity, the entrepreneurship, it is already in the community, but the access to capital is not. So, that’s a big part of it.
Senator Kamala Harris: (09:17)
What are we going to do? Let’s talk about the fact that I am, and I think many of us are proud graduates of HBCUs. Our HBCUs have been traditionally and will always be one of the main sources, one of the main sources of young, black, brilliant minds entering the various professions to go on and be leaders nationally and even internationally. So part of our plan and agenda is $70 billion going into HBCUs.
Senator Kamala Harris: (09:54)
And with an emphasis, because this is an important point, with an emphasis also in investing in the research that a lot of our HBCUs do, because remember that is about not only nurturing the students who go into the professions, but it is … for example, let’s take the issue of health care and issues that directly impact the black community, and I’m going to talk about black women, lupus. Black women are three times more likely to have lupus. We want to make sure that the research and then the interpretation of the research is being done by people who are culturally competent. And a lot of our HBCUs that have research capacity are uniquely situated to do that. So, that investment is very important.
Senator Kamala Harris: (10:42)
It’s very important when we think about the fact that the prevalence of technology and how that is changing so much, including this thing called AI, which is artificial intelligence. Well artificial intelligence, because I got to break these things down. So just bear with me for a moment. Artificial intelligence, the other way of thinking of that is machine learning. A machine learns things about people, and then the machine will make decisions about who gets what, who gets stopped, who gets what targeted based on what the machine has learned. You’re with me now, right?
Senator Kamala Harris: (11:19)
So as we know, often what you learn is a function of who teaches you and how you’ve been taught, and how you’ve been taught to interpret things. So again, back to the point of an investment in HBCUs around an issue like technology, so we can make sure that it is those students and professors who are helping to inform something like AI, which is so prevalent in a way that we cannot see, but we are experiencing.
Senator Kamala Harris: (11:50)
The agenda includes what we need to do around expansion of healthcare. And one of the bills that I’ve had in Congress that we are, as part of the Biden Harris agenda is about tracking racial disparities in healthcare. That is important, again, for a number of reasons, including let’s look at the issue of maternal mortality. Something that I, along with many others in Congress, have been leading. Black maternal mortality.
Senator Kamala Harris: (12:16)
Black women are three to four times more likely to die in connection with childbirth. And by the way, it has nothing to do with a black woman’s educational level or socioeconomic level. Look at Serena Williams as an example. It literally has to do with the fact that when a black woman walks into a doctor’s office or a clinic or a hospital, she is not taken seriously or as seriously as other people. So part of the agenda is about what we need to do to track racial disparities in healthcare, but also to deal with racial biases within the healthcare system. So, that’s explicit as part of our approach.
Senator Kamala Harris: (12:55)
Education in terms of tuition and student loan debt, our students have disproportionately some of the highest student loan debt. So our plan is that for students who are coming from a family that makes less than $125,000, they can attend a four year public school, including a private HBCU tuition free.
Senator Kamala Harris: (13:23)
If they come out of school and go into a job that pays less than $125,000, and many of our students do choose … they choose a life of service, and those don’t pay. Those aren’t high paying jobs, even though they pay well to your soul. Then it’s about what we need to do also in terms of loan forgiveness for students who go into a job that pays less than $125,000.
Senator Kamala Harris: (13:48)
On the criminal justice piece, it is about what we need to do around police accountability, as well as reform of the system as a whole. So when we talk about police accountability, one, we need a national use of force standard, which means this …
Senator Kamala Harris: (14:03)
… And we need a national use of force standard, which means this. In many jurisdictions, when there is an excessive use of force, the question that is asked about that use of force is to ask, “Was that use of force reasonable?” Now we all know you can reason away just about anything. The more fair, the more just question to ask is, “Was that use of force necessary?” So changing that. Having a national database to track police officers who break the law. Because what happens often is that if there is such a case and it doesn’t go to court, there will be an administrative hearing and someone might get fired. Then they can move to another jurisdiction. That doesn’t follow them. And so we need to have a national tracking system. We also are calling for the ban of choke holds and carotid holds, George Floyd would be alive today if that were the case.
Senator Kamala Harris: (15:03)
We are calling for the United States Department of Justice to put teeth into pattern and practice investigations of law enforcement agencies that have a history or a pattern or practice of discrimination, including excessive force. As attorney general of California, I conducted those. I did pattern and practice investigations of law enforcement agencies. That is what needs to happen. And by the way, it needs to not only include law enforcement agencies, but prosecutors offices. So these are some of the various areas of focus. There’s a lot more, I know we have limited time, but I appreciate the question and the point. Thank you.
So you’ve heard her answers. So when you hear the Senator speak, you can hear for yourself that there is an answer to the questions that we have all been asking. And the answers that we are getting are what we need to hear. So you have heard their concern is all our concern for what is going on in our communities. They get it. So you, we, us, the special ones in the yard today, we must carry the message that these are the people to vote for. This is the ticket to support and vote for. Now, the next question that we have is coming from Latifa Fields, who is from NC100BW. And her question, Senator, is around gun violence prevention.
Latifa Fields: (16:43)
Good afternoon, everyone. As Cheryl said, I am Latifa Fields from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Pennsylvania Chapter.
Latifa Fields: (16:54)
We would like to know, are there plans for this administration to promote gun as a public health crisis and include funding for evidence based violence intervention programs and any budgetary request?
Senator Kamala Harris: (17:11)
Yes. And this is such a big topic and it’s such an important one and it spans the range, okay? So what do we need to do about the laws as it relates to guns? And so one of the things that we will do is fight to renew the assault weapons ban. Let’s be clear about that, which is an assault weapon by its very design is intended to kill a lot of human beings quickly. There is no reason that they are on the streets of any civil society. We intend to close what’s called the boyfriend loophole. So currently, if someone has been convicted of domestic violence, that’s not necessarily a basis for them to be prohibited from owning a gun. And that’s a loophole in the law. So we want to deal with that. We need to have universal background checks. Why? Again, it’s just reasonable, which is this. Before somebody can buy a lethal weapon, you might want to know if they’ve been found by a court to be a danger to themselves or others. You just might want to know.
Senator Kamala Harris: (18:43)
These are the things about a background check, you just might want to know certain things before you give somebody something that can kill other human beings. So that’s a part of it. But to your point about the money putting into prevention and understanding the public health implications, those are profound, especially for us. One of the biggest issues that, and I’d like to talk more about this around healthcare, and I can’t even go into the topic without pointing out that in the midst of a public health pandemic, where over 6 million people have contracted this thing, almost 200,000 people have died. Black folks are three times as likely to contract it, twice as likely to die from it. Do you know that the current occupant of the White House has his boy, Bill Barr in court right now, trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act that was brought as one of the most significant public policy achievements of any administration and was created by President Obama together with Vice President Joe Biden.
Senator Kamala Harris: (19:56)
And they’re in court right now trying to get rid of it. And if they’re successful, it will likely remove healthcare benefits for over 2 million people. And here’s the thing, remember that before they got that done, the Affordable Care Act that folks labeled Obamacare, before they got it done, you could be denied health coverage for a preexisting condition like diabetes, like high blood pressure, like lupus. It got rid of that. So if Trump is successful and Bill Barr successful, that’ll come back to be a problem. Why am I bringing that up in the midst of COVID? 6 million plus people contracted it and have lived, but doctors are telling us we still don’t know the longterm impact of this. So you can imagine there’s now a new population of almost over 6 million people who, if Trump gets his way, might be denied health coverage because of a preexisting condition. But on the issue of guns, it’s a public health issue.
Senator Kamala Harris: (21:12)
When you look at, for example, the number of our children who are suffering from undiagnosed and untreated trauma and what that does in terms of their ability to go to school the next day and learn because they’ve been taught by a parent, “Baby, if you hear the gunfire going off, jump in the tub, it’s one of the safest places to avoid a stray bullet.” If you have, before the age of 12, family members who have been killed because of gun violence and you have been part of learning a tradition of how you then get the tee shirt made and the ceremony around the gun violence, it is so much more than including not only what we need to do around the laws, but to understand the effect in our communities and to understand then why it also, and Joe Biden and I feel strongly about this, needs to be studied as a public health matter in addition to everything else so that we can address the trauma and all of the public health ramifications of gun violence in our communities. Thank you.
Latifa Fields: (22:41)
Speaker 2: (22:43)
Thank you. Latifa, you talked about that gun violence, another crisis, but we want each and every one of you to remember this. When the global pandemic was sweeping nations across the world, we learned that two of the most necessary elements that we needed to employ in order to curb this global pandemic were testing and contact tracing, the two most important tools that we needed. The disparities that you just mentioned that existed within minority communities who did not have readily access to both of them, it was an issue here in the city of Philadelphia like it was in cities across the US. We had a lady Senator who we called our Fannie Lou Hamer, our Harriet Tubman of testing, Dr. Ala Stanford, the founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium. She is here. And doc, please comment on the senator’s comments about those health disparities.
Dr. Ala Stanford: (23:47)
My name is Dr. Ala Stanford, I’m a pediatric surgeon, I’m founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium and my heart is beating out of my chest to hear what you said about the health disparities to accurately say to us the numbers in which we are dying in this country. To know that 52,000 people died on Tuesday, that over 1,000 people are dying per day. That in Philadelphia, 52% of the death and disease are black people and we only represent 44% of the population. So to hear that from what I pray will be our new vice president just puts joy in my heart. Lord have mercy. Okay. So in April of 2020, when people kept reaching out saying, “Doc, I’m trying to get tested.” And these were black folks that were not poor black folks. These were my doctor, professional friends. I showed up, I had a script, they turned me away. I took two buses, I wasn’t in the car, they turned me away. So I created the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium. I got my friends that were doctors and nurses and medical students together who volunteered.
Dr. Ala Stanford: (25:05)
I said to lab corp, who has the FDAPCR approved test, “I need the test.” They said, “How are you going to pay for the uninsured?” I said, “You’re going to bill me,” which they have. And the other folks we wrote did what we could through insurance and we went to church parking lots, we went to street corners, we went to Belmont Plateau, we went to union leaders, we went everywhere where people said they couldn’t get tested and we tested them on weekends, at night, when it was cold, in the rain, and we tested them. Now over 10,000 people in Southeastern Pennsylvania, we have tested.
Dr. Ala Stanford: (25:45)
And we did that with donations from the city. And yes, the city funded us afterwards, but everything we did was my bank account, it was people giving us $5 and $10. It was the people, it was GoFundMe. My questions to you is, if you had known what 45 said in February, “It’s airborne. It travels in the air. It’s five times more deadly than the flu. You can be young, you can be old, everybody in between can get this thing. It’s really contagious,” what would you have done in February? My first question. And the second part of the question is what would you, if anything, mandate in January of 2021? Thank you.
Senator Kamala Harris: (26:44)
Let me just start by thanking you. In times of crisis, real leaders present themselves, real leaders present themselves. And usually in times of crisis, as it is born out of the pain that you feel for the people you know are suffering, and with that pain, you translate into strength that is about lifting people up. And in stark contrast, we have this doctor, in stark contrast to the person who currently has the title of president of the United States, who he seems to think that strength is measured based on who you beat down, instead of understanding true strength is based on who you lift up. I can’t thank you enough. And I’m so glad that we have all this national press here to hear what you did. I’m going to be talking about you. So has everyone heard that tape? If you haven’t, I encourage you to hear it because we don’t even have to rely on Bob Woodward telling us what Trump told him. We can just hear what he told him. And to your point, he got the information in January.
Senator Kamala Harris: (28:03)
… point. So he got the information in January. Clearly understood it well enough. Joe Biden was so funny, He was interviewed about it and he said, “Well, now at least we know the guy can read.” Tells Bob Woodward in February. February. Now, remember everything started to just shut down March 13th. I’ll never forget that day. Most of us won’t. In February and then tells him so much so about, this is how well he understands the point that he’s discussing, he says, “It’s airborne, it’s lethal. It’s airborne.” Now airborne, as contrasted with like, “You can’t get it on a surface.” Ge went on with that level of detail. This is how well he understood the nature of this thing that as of today has infected 6 million plus people and has killed almost 200,000 people in just a matter of months. And yet he said to the American people, “It’s a hoax.”
Senator Kamala Harris: (29:05)
He muzzled public health experts. He called it all kinds of names because he can’t push xenophobia enough. And he, on top of it, knowing it’s airborne, and lethal in its proportion, suggested to the American people that you’re a you know what if you wear a mask, and you’re with us if you don’t. You can’t make this stuff up. So what would we have done? One, we would have listened to the scientists and embrace the science. This is a group of leaders. What we know about leading, we know it as parents, we know it in so many aspects of life, you must be guided by speaking truth, especially when you have the responsibility for caring for, or in any way, another person’s life.
Senator Kamala Harris: (30:15)
You must be guided by speaking truth, no matter how difficult it is to speak, and no matter how difficult it is to hear. But he deliberately put his personal political ambition in front of the health and wellbeing of the American people. And let’s be clear, we’re talking about not just somebody who has a bunch of buildings with his name on it. We’re talking about the Commander-in-Chief, who has as one of their highest priorities to keep the American people safe.
Senator Kamala Harris: (30:54)
So we would have embraced fact, we would have listened to the scientists. We would have told the American people, “This is not to be played with.” We would have also done something, which Joe Biden does all the time, he will always be this kind of leader. We would have let the folks know, let the people know, we are all in this together. That’s something this President has never been able to understand about the strength of a nation. One way to pull the strength of a nation together in a moment of crisis is to remind people we’re all in it together. You look back to the Great Depression, World War II, we’re all in it together, we need to make sacrifices for the sake of the whole. So in this case, nobody likes wearing a mask. Who do you know who likes wearing a mask? Nobody. There’s very few people who just didn’t like to talk to other people anyway. Nobody likes to wear a mask, but it is an extension of love thy neighbor that we do. Going forward, 47 days, we got to get this thing done. We got to make sure everybody votes. They vote early. And then what we will do is one, have a national testing standard. There is none right now. We will have a national contact tracing plan, there is none right now. Including what we’re calling as kind of a jobs corps plan for over a hundred thousand people who will get paid to engage in the contact tracing. And let’s also be clear, we have all of our kids coming out of high school and college and really worried about having a job, and so this is also about a job opportunity that is about civic, about public service.
Senator Kamala Harris: (32:51)
We will also have, and here’s, Doctor, a national strategy for a safe vaccine when, God willing, we get a safe vaccine. And by that, I mean a strategy that includes making sure that it is giving to the communities that need it most and therefore taking into account issues like racial disparities to ensure, and tracking racial disparities, to ensure that it actually is getting to all who need it. So those are the things that we will do.
Thank you so much.
Cheryl, I see I’m telling you. They’re on it. They on it. From the media, from keeping the radio and the radio waves on in Philadelphia and outreaching, which is very important in black communities, to addressing gun violence. My son was shot three times and it was not cute. And when I got that job and could not get tested, I called up Dr. Alla. I said, “Doctor, they want to shoot now, can I get a COVID test?” She said, “Well not if you’d go with your script.” And she was right. And I went right to that church parking lot and there we got a hundred views on Instagram. Next question. I’m sorry. A hundred thousand views on Instagram. The testing of the COVID.
Question number four we’ve got here is from Selema Pace. Selema, thank you. Selema Pace” is about you, that historic pick as the first black vice president. Selema?
Selema Pace: (34:35)
Hello. It’s a little different Shirley. We’re going to get it right.
Come on girl. Tell me. [inaudible 00:34:42] Pronunciation of names.
Selema Pace: (34:44)
Yes. You got me right? Selema Pace.
There you go.
Selema Pace: (34:47)
And I’m very proud to be standing up here as the Secretary Treasurer of District 1199C, the largest healthcare union in the city of Philadelphia, and also as a board member of She Can Win, who helps elect black women to office. I am just so proud to be standing here today in your presence. Okay. My question is, again, as representative of 1199C, the National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees represent 13,000 members across Philly and the surrounding areas. And we represent mainly women of color between the ages of 18 and 60, who are considered nonprofessional workers. Dietary, CNA, technical workers. They do the most work for the least wage. How will these women feel the difference with you as our next Vice President?
Senator Kamala Harris: (35:37)
Thank you, Selema.
Senator Kamala Harris: (35:38)
I was just looking and I don’t see it here, but first of all, I want to thank you for the work that you’re doing in terms of electing black women. So I don’t have the stats in front of me, but that’s a big job you’ve got. Not because there are not all kinds of black women who are leading already and should be in elected office, but just the odds are against us in terms of the number who actually do right now. So what we have to do is break those numbers. We have to break those numbers. And on that point, I’ll say this, you know I’m the only black woman serving in the United States Senate right now?
Senator Kamala Harris: (36:19)
Right? It shouldn’t be like that. It shouldn’t be like that. A hundred people in the United States Senate, and I’m the only black woman. And I’m only the second black woman in the history of the United States Senate ever to be elected to the United States Senate. So these are the odds, and that’s why your work is so important. The other piece of this is, the thing about breaking barriers. So let’s talk about that for a second, because so many of us have broken barriers.
Senator Kamala Harris: (36:55)
I mentor a lot of young people and I say to them, on the thing on the subject of breaking barriers, I want to make sure that we’re all clear about what this is. Because sometimes I’m concerned that some people may think that breaking barriers means you start out on one side of the barrier and then you just show up on the other side. So I have to explain, no, that’s not how it works. Breaking barriers means you have to break things. And when you break things that can be painful. Sometimes you get cut. Sometimes you bleed.
Senator Kamala Harris: (37:36)
It will be worth it every time, but it is not without struggle. And so the work you are doing to break those barriers and to assist other women to do that is so critically important because the way that any one of us, and that was my earliest comment, the way that any one of us actually is able to do that is with the support, and the help, and the encouragement, and that’s part of what we need to achieve to actually move forward. It means doing also the work of, my mother gave me lots of advice and one of them, she said, “Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, make sure you’re not the last.”
Senator Kamala Harris: (38:20)
And so there is that piece of it, which is that for each one of us, and we know this, and that’s why we’re here together right now. We know that whenever we achieve anything, we bring others with us. And that when we walk through that door, we need to leave it open a little wider, and each one pull one. Part of it is also knowing and reminding folks of this: we will often find that we are the only one that looks like us when we walk in that room, be it that conference room, that boardroom. It’s really important though, that when you’re in that room, seemingly by yourself, that you know we’re all in that room with you.
Senator Kamala Harris: (39:10)
And that you carry us with you in that room. And so the responsibility you have then in that room is to carry our voice in that room, knowing you are not alone. Because one of the things that I think can really disempower any one of us is if we feel alone.
That’s right. That’s right.
Senator Kamala Harris: (39:34)
And we can never let anyone make us feel like we’re alone. I think people intend it perhaps as a compliment to say, “Oh, you’re special.” I don’t hear that. What I hear is you trying to tell me, “I’m the only one like that”, but you see, I come from people.
Teach, Senator Harris.
Senator Kamala Harris: (39:58)
And so that’s the work that you’re doing, but it’s about each one of us and for me, I feel that very strongly, being there and then creating a path and a place for others to follow, and doing it in a way that it’s… Thank you, sweetheart, but doing it in a way that it’s [crosstalk 00:40:19]
You guys go have to come up for a national prescription for lantern flies. Lantern flies have got to go. I’m sorry, we’ll get back to business. Okay.
Senator Kamala Harris: (40:31)
That’s what it’s about. That’s what it’s about. Being that voice for all the folks who are not in that room. On a lot of the issues that we’ve been talking about today.
Selema Pace: (40:41)
Yes. And thank you.
Senator Kamala Harris: (40:41)
Thank you, Selema.
Speaker 2: (40:45)
Sora, Shirley. Senator Harris, when she opened up, she talked about AI. And if you all remember, she gave us an education so that we could understand what that meant.
Speaker 2: (40:58)
She also forced us to reflect on many of the old industries that were available to provide an access to a path in the work and into the middle class, they’re not available. Hence the Selema Pace’s, the 1199C’s and the SCIU’s become so valuable.
Speaker 2: (41:17)
But at the heart of that, Senator Harris, if we don’t have a first class educational system trying to teach our children so that they could compete in this global economy, I don’t know where we would start. With that being said, we want to call on Evelyn Sampleoat, who happens to be everything that she’s representing here.
All right now.
Speaker 2: (41:41)
[crosstalk 00:41:41] four things at one time, Evelyn.
Thank you. And [inaudible 00:41:44], good afternoon.
Senator Kamala Harris: (41:44)
Good afternoon, [inaudible 00:00:41:46].
I’m so excited to be here with you. You were at Howard when I was at American, so we were at a couple of parties together, you may not remember that.
Senator Kamala Harris: (41:52)
There you go.
But I also work at the School District of Philadelphia, I’ve been there for 11 years now. And public education has been under attack with funding-
… and public education has been under attack with funding cuts, school closures, and a lack of safety policies in place to protect our students. What will you do as vice president to ensure that all children, no matter what their zip code is, who are attending public schools, receive adequate funding and other resources so they can attend school safely while receiving a quality education?
Senator Kamala Harris: (42:27)
Yeah. Thank you. Thank you, [Lasora 00:00:29]. Thank you. So, a number of things. One, within our plan is increasing Title I funding, which is going to be a very big piece. I mean, let’s, first, just back up. We have been defunding public education in this country for years and years and years, and we are paying a price for it. And we need to fix that, and we need to correct course. So, that’s where we start, which is speaking truth and an acknowledgement of where we are and how we got here. So, we need to deal with that, and so Title I funding is part of it.
Senator Kamala Harris: (43:06)
Part of it is what we need to do to pay our teachers more. Well, for so many workers, and the sisters and brothers in labor know this, the cost of living keeps going up while wages have remained stagnant. And that’s for all the professions, especially the service professions, including teachers. 94% of teachers, that was the last number I saw, come out of their own back pocket to help pay for school supplies. Right? So, there’s that piece of it.
Senator Kamala Harris: (43:37)
We also need to, and this is part of our plan also, is invest in infrastructure across the board in our country, but including our schools. Okay? Again, because we’re in the midst of COVID, and one of the biggest dilemmas for any of us as a parent is what to do about our kids in school, K through 12, college, all of that. And we all want them to go back to school. Right? But safely. And so, for the public schools, what we know is that they’ve been deteriorating year after year after year, to the point that we would not let any of our children walk by a water fountain and let them drink out of it because that water’s probably toxic. We talk about whether we should send the kids back to the school while we need to social distance and wear masks. Well, come winter, in places like Philadelphia, there’s no option for outside, but the status of the schools in terms of the deterioration is so bad that there’s an inadequate ventilation systems. Right? So, the infrastructure piece around schools is important.
Senator Kamala Harris: (44:58)
And then, there is also what we need to do to just upgrade what we are doing in terms of the curriculum. Right? And a lot of that is about, again, putting the resources back into our schools to allow these educators and that whole education ecosystem, which includes the cafeteria workers, it includes the school bus drivers, to have the support they need to be able to contribute to our children’s capacity. So, that’s some of it. And that’s K through 12, but it also includes our plan for universal pre-K and also for affordable childcare. So, part of the plan is that nobody should have to pay more than 7% of their income for childcare. So, these are some of the issues that are all related, obviously, to the wellbeing of our children.
Yes. Thank you. Thank you [inaudible 00:03:49].
Senator Kamala Harris: (45:49)
You’re welcome. You’re welcome. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you for your direct, succinct answers to these questions. I think we would all agree that she has had proper full answers to the questions that she has been asked. Agreed?
Senator Kamala Harris: (46:09)
I mean, even the folks on the sideline are agreeing with us. See, that’s how we roll in Philadelphia. So, I know you are the choir and you are an excellent choir, but in these 47 days… Is it 47 or 42?
Senator Kamala Harris: (46:31)
In these 47 days left, the choir, it is up to you to teach more of the song that we are singing. We know that here in Philly and other cities across the country, black women are going to show up.
Senator Kamala Harris: (46:49)
We’ve been talking about that since November, black women are going to show up. But right now we need black-
Speaker 2: (46:57)
But Cheryl, don’t forget this, because you said this last night and I’m intentional about interjecting here.
Speaker 2: (47:02)
We want to say this for the record, Senator, because I know you’re not a fluffy person. We talk to your people, and we told them we were coming to the backyard in Philadelphia and they knew we would have some direct questions. We don’t want anyone to think that, as black women, we are singularly just super excited about seeing you and the potential to become the first black woman vice president in the United States simply because we have a complexion connection. We want you there because you are prepared to meet the challenge.
Yes, we know. Yes.
Speaker 2: (47:44)
And to lead. So, for anyone who’s anywhere watching this, who could think that black women with that power, with that grit, standing on the shoulders of our grandmothers, who cleaned so that we didn’t have to, we’re with you sister because we’re prepared. Now, listen, there’s some people in cities who are watching.
Yes, they are.
Speaker 2: (48:11)
And [crosstalk 00:48:11] the city council of Philadelphia, so I can’t let you leave out of here without asking this question. $750 million, the city of Philadelphia lost in revenue, and my colleague Catherine Gilmore Richardson is here. Pre-COVID, cities in good fiscal shape, multiple reserves, pension fund on its path to solvency, and COVID hit. We lost 750 million. There is no mayor in the nation, I’m thinking about Keisha Lance Bottoms, I’m thinking about my brother in Newark, Ras Baraka.
Speaker 2: (48:48)
I’m thinking Lori Lightfoot.
Speaker 2: (48:51)
They can’t be successful in doing their work without [inaudible 00:48:55]. Can’t be successful, Senator, without help in Washington. What does it, or will it mean, from a Biden and a Harris administration, for cities? Because we have limited revenue generating capacity. We can’t close the gap between the haves and the have nots without you.
Senator Kamala Harris: (49:16)
No, that’s great. And I couldn’t agree with you more. And I work closely with every one of those that you’ve mentioned, and as an example of people who are on the ground every day dealing with the realities. They don’t have the luxury of fancy speeches because they just got to deal with what the people need every day. I have the background of having been part of city government, county government, state, and federal, and I couldn’t agree with you more that some of the greatest elected leadership in our country comes at the local level. Again, because they have to be relevant. So, Joe and I have talked about this, and he’s very committed to this, too, which is having a council of advisors on a regular basis that are about local and state government leaders, helping to inform the policy and also the administration of the policy, but helping to inform the policy on the front end. Because what those leaders do not want or need, what you don’t want or need is for us to tell you later what we’d done to you. You need to be a part of saying-
Speaker 2: (50:24)
Well, [inaudible 00:50:24] we can’t use it that way.
Senator Kamala Harris: (50:25)
Right, right, right. But you need to be a part of what you need and how you need it, so that’s something that’s… And I can promise you that Joe cares deeply about this, as well.
Speaker 2: (50:36)
Jim Kenney, mayor of the city of Philadelphia, Darryl Clark, president of the city council of Philadelphia, you just heard the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee say to the city of Philadelphia that if Biden and Harris are elected, help is on the way for the city of Philadelphia.
Yes. Help is on the way.
Speaker 2: (50:54)
And we don’t just African American women. All of the women here must bring men to the polls with you.
Speaker 2: (51:06)
Repeat that please.
Thank you. Thank you. It is not just on our shoulders. And you and I have talked about this, the importance of making sure that the black man, the black young man show up to the polls and vote for Barden and Harris, knowing there is nothing wrong in voting for this black woman right here, Kamala Harris. Thank you so much.
Speaker 2: (51:38)
Senator, we’re going to close out and we’re going to tell you, and we have to be honest, we have the best and the brightest here from Philadelphia representing our interests. And when we talked to your folks and we said, “Well, the neighborhoods, some people thought we were talking about going downtown to some big, swanky building,” we said, “No, we wanted to come to [inaudible 00:51:55] and come in the backyard, the Philly backyard.” And I will tell you, Senator, I said, “Uh-huh (affirmative), let me see how she’s going to respond.” Listen, Senator said, Oakland, Philly, backyard [crosstalk 00:52:11] something new. And Senator, we were so, so happy that you are here. We want you to know that for all of those who are watching, this is going to take all of us in our great nation. We want women from all walks of life and people from all walks of life, because we’re going to close the gap between the haves and the have nots and keep America moving in a direction and an inclusive economy that will bring us along. Thank you for coming to the backyard.
Thank you. Thank you. Everybody’s got to get up [crosstalk 00:52:41].
Speaker 2: (52:39)
[crosstalk 00:52:39] thank you, Senator.
… get out, and vote. Nobody has the right not to vote in this election. Vote like your life depends upon it, because it does.
Speaker 2: (52:51)
[inaudible 00:52:51] how many days left again? How many day?
Senator Kamala Harris: (52:53)
47 days days [inaudible 00:52:56].
Speaker 2: (52:53)
[inaudible 00:52:53] 47.
Senator Kamala Harris: (52:53)
Speaker 2: (52:53)
Say it again.
Senator Kamala Harris: (52:53)
Speaker 2: (52:53)
Say it again.
Senator Kamala Harris: (52:53)
Speaker 2: (53:03)
Don’t forget to vote, and you better have a plan. And if you’re going to vote, pack your lunch like former first lady, Michelle Obama [crosstalk 00:00:53:09]. Thank you.
Thank you. A little Cali Philly. There you go.
Senator Kamala Harris: (53:16)
Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. All right, let’s get this done.
We’re going to get it done.
Senator Kamala Harris: (53:21)
Let’s get it done.
Senator Kamala Harris: (53:23)
Okay. All right.
Thank you. Thank your team, too.