Sep 22, 2020
Kamala Harris ‘Shop Talk’ Campaign Visit Detroit, Michigan Transcript September 22
Kamala Harris visited Detroit, Michigan for a ‘Shop Talk’ campaign event with local Black leaders on September 22. Read the transcript of the full event here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Anthony Donald Jr.: (03:19)
(singing) Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Anthony Donald, Jr., co-owner of Headliners Barber Shop, and I would like you guys to help me welcome our next Vice President of the United States, Senator Kamala Harris.
Anthony Donald Jr.: (04:35)
And then this is Garlin.
Anthony Donald Jr.: (04:50)
Good afternoon, everyone.
Anthony Donald Jr.: (04:52)
Again, my name is Anthony Donald, Jr. I’m the co-owner of Headliners Barber Shop. My father, Anthony Donald, Sr., started this barbershop 18 years ago. He’s a military man. We want to thank everybody for coming out, and I’d like to introduce Reverend Wendell Anthony, of pastor Fellowship Chapel.
Wendell Anthony: (05:13)
Thank you, Anthony, and let me welcome all of you here. I want to certainly welcome our special guest, Senator Kamala Harris, soon to be the Vice President of United States of America, and we are just glad to have her, and to the Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist. I’m just very glad to be in the neighborhood. You know, we never took the word neighbor out of neighborhood. Some people call it the hood, but it’s a neighborhood, and I’m glad to be at Headliners where you get your head lined in the right way, get the head lined and you get your mind lined. And so we’re very pleased to be here today and to acknowledge this young man who is an entrepreneur and proprietor.
Wendell Anthony: (05:55)
I want to salute his daddy, because his daddy started this years ago, and for 18 years now he’s passed it down to his son, and he’s saying he going to pass it down to his son. That’s the way it’s going to be, and with folk like Kamala Harris winning this election, then that’s what we want to do. I’m sure the Lieutenant Governor would agree with me, because that’s what he and Governor Whitmer are about, developing neighborhoods and increasing opportunity in our community.
Wendell Anthony: (06:24)
So it’s my pleasure to welcome the brothers and the sisters here, and to give it to Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist. Welcome to the neighborhood, Brother Gilchrist.
Garlin Gilchrist: (06:37)
All right. Thank you, Reverend Anthony. I want to welcome everybody here to Detroit. What’s important about this event and one of the things that I love about Senator and soon-to-be Vice President Kamala Harris… When she ran for President, she talked about being Kamala Harris for the people, and this event and this conversation represents the kind of service that she will bring to us as the Vice President. A person who will always be available and accessible to the people. A person who will always listen to the people, who will prioritize the policies and the values of the people. When we are talking about the people who have been hit hardest by life, but who also stand the tallest in life, they’re the type of people who are represented in this neighborhood here on the west side of Detroit. They’re also the type of people who we need to make sure are mobilized at the highest historic levels to make their voices heard, to make their votes count, to have their power felt in this election, because the stakes are so high.
Garlin Gilchrist: (07:51)
And when the stakes are as high as they are, you need to have the best people on your team. You need to have the best people, who you are advocating for, to be at the table because when they’re at the table, you’re at the table. I can think of no better partner for Vice President Joe Biden to be at that table, working with and for us to ensure that on every issue and every opportunity, she will always be a fighter and advocate for the people. Brothers and sisters, I welcome with open arms to my state, to my city, Senator and soon-to-be Vice President Kamala Harris.
Wendell Anthony: (08:34)
All right. All right.
Kamala Harris: (08:40)
Mr. Donald, I want to thank you for hosting us today, and this business of 18 years to you and your father, it was very important to me and to us that we be here on 7 Mile Road, which history teaches, for those who don’t know, is one of the most significant roads of black businesses in America, black-owned businesses in this neighborhood, black-owned home ownership for generations. So it was very important to us, and to me personally, to be here, and I want to thank you and your father for hosting us today. Thank you.
Anthony Donald Jr.: (09:25)
Thank you for coming. We really appreciate you as well.
Kamala Harris: (09:28)
Reverend Anthony, I want to thank you always for always welcoming me in such a warm way to the state of Michigan. You and I have had many conversations over a long period of time. I want to thank you for your leadership, not only of Michigan, but I want to thank you for your national leadership. Most of all, I want to thank you for your friendship. Thank you, Reverend Anthony.
Wendell Anthony: (09:52)
Thank you, Senator.
Kamala Harris: (09:53)
Thank you. And to the Lieutenant Governor, thank you. You know the challenges we face. You have been a leader in this state in one of the most difficult times that anyone could be a Lieutenant Governor anywhere, and you always rise above to the challenge and do it in a way that is with grace but with purpose. In particular, I do believe that these moments find the leaders that we need at the time, and you are that leader. I want to thank you for your friendship. Lieutenant Governor, thank you.
Kamala Harris: (10:28)
And I want to thank everybody else. So I’m here to have a conversation, and to listen as much if not more than I talk. The election is in 42 days, Michigan starts voting in 48 hours, and the outcome of this election will determine, I believe, the course of our country for generations to come. There are so many issues at play that relate to the impact of this pandemic on the city of Detroit, on the state of Michigan, in the United States. We are here honoring black businesses, understanding that black businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the economic toll this virus has taken. But let’s also be clear. The thing about this pandemic is that it has in many ways been an accelerator in that it made worse what was bad to start with in terms of who was getting resources, who was having access to resources or not.
Kamala Harris: (11:37)
So I want to talk about that. I want to talk about the impact on small businesses, but even before the pandemic, we knew that one of the greatest challenges that our black business owners have had is access to capital, which is something Joe and I plan on addressing in a direct way and I can speak to that. Let’s talk about the impact that the pandemic has had in terms of the fact that black folks are three times more likely to contract the virus, twice as likely to die from the virus.
Kamala Harris: (12:06)
And that’s not surprising, because again, before the pandemic, we knew there were gross health disparities. When we look at the fact that black children are 20% more likely to have asthma, 40%, as a general matter, folks are likely to have high blood pressure, black women three times more likely to have lupus, black women three times to four times more likely to die in connection with childbirth than white women. So what did this pandemic do? It has been an accelerator, and we need to address the pandemic, but we also need to address the long-standing disparities.
Kamala Harris: (12:40)
Then we could go on and on talking about education and what this has meant for our children, especially those who do not have access to broadband or the technology that is necessary to learn remotely if that is the only option. Let’s talk about the lack of access to affordable childcare for working families and what that mean-
Kamala Harris: (13:03)
Access to affordable childcare for working families, and what that means in terms of whether or not our children are getting access to the education they need to build on the brilliant capacity of their brains. So there’s a lot to discuss. And in terms of this election, there is a lot at stake. And so I’m honored to be among these leaders today. And Reverend Anthony, I think we should start this discussion.
Wendell Anthony: (13:27)
Thank you, senator. There’s so much of discuss, as you just said. Today is national Voter Registration Day. It’s a national day, all over the country. And we want people to be registered. We want you to take your souls to the polls and to vote like your life depends upon it, because it does. You just had the Senate trying to push through a new supreme court jurist even though Ruth Bader Ginsburg has not even been laid to rest. That’s a great challenge for us because it’s going to determine the outcome of where we go. And so I’m glad to see these brothers and sisters here today who want to kick it with you and just say what’s on their mind and to talk about real issues. Real issues begins in a real community, in a real place. This ain’t the barbershop with Cedric and Ice Cube. This is the barbershop when Anthony and his daddy on Seven Mile.
Wendell Anthony: (14:29)
So then they ask a brother, young brother Jeremiah Wheeler. Going through this process, we have questions, but I think that as we begin we’re going to come to him and others and I’m going to ask that Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist, if he wants to kick it off and then we can begin the discussion question-wise and come back and you can interject. Lieutenant Governor.
Garlin Gilchrist: (14:53)
We will. Thank you, Reverend. Just to be clear, the reason we’re at a barbershop is because we want to have a real conversation, and it’s a real conversation, you see black men here from different walks of life who all have shared experiences. And we believe, this campaign believes that it is important that black men understand their power. So I hope this is what this conversation reveals. So I want to call up first to ask a question for Senator Harris, I’d like to call up Mr. Rajon Williams Jackson.
Rajon Williams Jackson: (15:27)
Good afternoon, Rajon Williams Jackson.
Kamala Harris: (15:29)
Rajon Williams Jackson: (15:30)
Question for you is, what game plan do you have to make a difference as vice-president with today’s social climate and regarding police brutality COVID-19 and student loan debt?
Kamala Harris: (15:41)
Thank you. Thank you for that question. So let’s start with police brutality. I was a prosecutor in my career and I’m going to tell you one of the problems. One of the problems with the criminal justice system is that there’s a phrase that is often used in the criminal justice system, and the phrase is accountability and consequence. There needs to be accountability and consequence. But the term is always used in connection with the person who was arrested and never in the context of the system itself and the actors within the system. And that’s part of the problem on this issue, there has not been consequence and accountability for police officers who break the rules and break the law consistent with those who do. So there are a number of things that we need to do to address it. For Joe and I, it includes we need to end choke holds and carotid holds. George Floyd would be alive today.
Kamala Harris: (16:45)
It means there needs to be a national standard for police use of force. In many places, the question when there’s an excessive use of force is to ask, was that use of force reasonable? Well as we all know, you can reason away just about anything. The just and right question to ask was, was that use of force necessary? We are going to put in place a national registry. Why? Well, because often when there is any accountability and consequence for a police officer who breaks the rules and breaks the law, it is administrative. It doesn’t go to court because often the standards are just so high that they don’t take them to court, and that’s why we want to change the standards. But it goes through an administrative hearing. So what ends up happening, maybe that officer gets fired. Then they can pick up and move to another jurisdiction and their record doesn’t follow them. And so we need to have a standard.
Kamala Harris: (17:43)
We need to also take the profit out of the criminal justice system. So what am I talking about? One, private prisons. And we will eliminate private prisons. Think about the business model of a private prison, is that some human beings are making a bunch of money off the incarceration of other human beings. That needs to end. We will end cash bail. I have been a leader on ending cash bail in the United States Senate. Why? Because there are people sitting in jail simply because they don’t have the money to pay bail. That’s wrong, because that’s an economic justice issue as much as it is a criminal justice issue. You’re saying that people are going to be incarcerated because they don’t have enough money in their back pocket? We need to end cash bail in America. So these are some of the things we’re going to do.
Kamala Harris: (18:34)
In terms of COVID, it’s really important to understand that in this election the contrast is as follows. On the one hand you have Donald Trump, who together with his boy Bill Barr are in the United States Supreme Court trying to end the Affordable Care Act that President Barack Obama together Vice President Biden passed. It was historic in terms of the magnitude of reform of the public health system in America. The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, brought it so that over 20 million people who did not have access to healthcare could get access. Preexisting conditions. Black folks have a great number of preexisting conditions, see earlier part of the conversation. What they did with the Affordable Care Act is to say a person cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. That’s a very big deal because people were being denied. Ask your relatives, your older relatives. People were being denied based on diabetes, based on high blood pressure. And that ended.
Kamala Harris: (19:50)
Donald Trump’s in court right now trying to get rid of that. He’s in court right now trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act that said young people up to the age of 27 can be on their parents’ coverage. Well look, right now when we’re talking about the job prospects for people coming out of high school and college, they’re going to need health coverage, and that’s one way to keep it until they can get on their feet. And we’re talking about 7 million people, almost, who have contracted COVID, thank God haven’t died but have therefore, you can best believe, when they have to go for insurance and coverage, a preexisting condition. And if Donald Trump has his way, they can be denied. So when we look at this election, there are some very clear differences. Donald Trump will never use the term ‘black lives matter.’ He will never say that he will never say it.
Kamala Harris: (20:47)
He will say that African countries are the word he used. He will say that when people are protesting for civil rights and justice, well they’re equal, on both sides, fine people. There are huge differences. Let’s talk about economic opportunities. Joe Biden and I are saying that we need to dedicate and will access to $150 billion for low interest loans and capital with a specific target for minority businesses. We’re saying there’ll be a $15,000 tax credit for first-time homeowners because we know the racial wealth gap is such that black families own 1/10 of the wealth of white families, and one of the greatest sources of our wealth intergenerationally is our ability to pass on that property from grandmother to grandson and so on and so on. So these are some of the issues at play. And thank you for the question.
Rajon Williams Jackson: (21:51)
Kamala Harris: (21:51)
Wendell Anthony: (21:55)
Thank you, senator, and I’m glad you responded that way because it leads into this next questioner, because you wanted to have a multi-generational group, and we do have a multi-generational group. I’m going to ask the next question to Jeremiah Wheeler. I think I know this young man. He is the president of Wayne State University Black Student Union. And he’s out there protesting all the time, but he’s great statement. And I think Jeremiah falls in that category of the young people, how old are you, Jeremiah?
Jeremiah Wheeler: (22:30)
Wendell Anthony: (22:31)
So that means he’s still on his mama and daddy’s insurance, and his sister’s still on his mom, and his sister works in Washington. She’s a college student, but she’s still on his mama and daddy’s insurance. So I want all the millennials to understand that y’all got a stake in this, that you’ve got to vote because your insurance is on the line. They want to take that away. So Jeremiah, the one who’s still on his mama and daddy’s insurance, you got a question for the senator this afternoon. I’m sorry, go right ahead, sir.
Jeremiah Wheeler: (23:02)
All good. No, thank you-
Wendell Anthony: (23:03)
Hey, we’re at the barber shop. This is the way we talk in the barber shop, senator. Go ahead, boy.
Jeremiah Wheeler: (23:07)
I got you. Thank you, Reverend Anthony, and thank you for joining us in Detroit on Seven Mile, Senator Harris. On behalf of the Wayne State Black Student Union, we want to know that given that America is built on racism, sexism, and other evils, how will you as vice-president advocate, whether through policy or just through the powers that you know that you can advocate on, how will we resolve these injustices for the black community and specifically for black women?
Kamala Harris: (23:34)
Yes. Thank you, and thank you for your role of leadership. Part of it is I’m going to need your help, because one of the biggest problems on the topic that you have raised is the failure to speak truth about America’s history with race. Right now Donald Trump is trying to actually… You probably know this, Lieutenant Governor, tried to get rid of the training in the federal government on race, on specific aspects of race. Literally trying to wipe out history. They’re saying, there are senators and others who are saying that basically, essentially we should stop teaching the truth about racism in America. And so we have to talk about, one, we have to talk about the need to have leadership that speaks the truth. I will do that. It is going to have to be about not just talking, it has to be about action.
Kamala Harris: (24:37)
For example, when we talk about, the other brother was asking about criminal justice. Let’s talk about America’s failure when it comes to understanding how you create safe communities. And by that I mean this. It is outdated, it is wrongheaded thinking to think that the only way you’re going to get communities to be safe is to put more police officers on the street. What we have to do and what we will do is reimagine public safety. In the way that you understand you want a safe community, you have to invest in the health and wellbeing of that community. What am I talking about?
Kamala Harris: (25:20)
You can go to any upper middle class suburb in America and you will not see the kind of police presence you see in other neighborhoods, but what you will see are well-funded public schools. What you will see are high rates of home ownership. What you will see are families who have an income that allows them to get through the end of the month without worrying about whether they can feed their children. What you will see are small businesses that have access to capital. What you will see are families that have access to healthcare that they can afford and mental health care that they can afford. So if we want to build safe communities, we need…
Kamala Harris: (26:03)
Want to build safe communities, we need to invest in the health of communities. And that’s why we started talking about it earlier. A large part of our plan is about what we need to do to expand healthcare, what we need to do to expand access to capital. Part of it is what we need to do to increase Title I funding, which is the federal funding that goes to public schools that are in the communities with the lowest tax rates. So they’re getting the lowest amount of resources and we need to triple that.
Kamala Harris: (26:29)
A big part of my focus has always been on what we need to do to expand mental health, because let’s talk about. We have so many of our children who have undiagnosed and untreated trauma, and it then manifests itself in all kinds of ways because we simply are not dealing with it. Because here’s the thing. Poverty is trauma inducing. Going to school or going to sleep at night and hearing gunfire and being told, “Baby, just jump in the bathtub to avoid the stray bullet,” is trauma inducing. And when we don’t address it, then it manifests itself in a number of ways. Whereas our children have such capacity that we are not tapping into because we are not giving communities the kind of mental health resources that we need. And we don’t talk about it. We don’t like to talk about it, but so many of our young people, Reverend Anthony, right now, are dealing with real serious depression, anxiety. And what happens? Any normal human being doesn’t like to feel pain. So you try and find ways to not feel the pain. And those are either going to be productive or unproductive ways.
Kamala Harris: (27:58)
So these are some of the examples of what we need to do and what I’m committed to doing. And it really does come down to not only a fight for justice and a fight for equality and freedom, but it also is about equity. So there’s a big difference between equality and equity. Equality suggest often everybody should get the same thing. Well, that often assumes everybody started out in the same place, as opposed to equity, which is everyone should end up in the same place. And if you then understand not everybody started out in the same place, you understand some people need more so we all end up in the same place. Right?
Kamala Harris: (28:46)
And so that’s about talking about equity and everything from education to healthcare, to economic status and ability to accumulate wealth. I will tell you, on the piece about the access to capital, look, Joe and I are fighting for a $15 minimum wage. We need a $15 minimum wage. But here’s the thing, brother. I’m going to say this, and I appreciate all the brothers and sisters from SEIU who’ve been fighting for that, that’s a given, but it’s a floor. Because nobody aspires to have a minimum wage job. That’s a floor. We need to build capital and an opportunity for people in our communities to build their wealth. We are a creative people. We are innovative. That’s why, you know, seven mile, this is a testament to that. And so that’s a large part of our focus too, is what we need to do around creating access to capital. And I appreciate you. Thank you.
Garlin Gilchrist: (29:47)
All right. Thank you. We got to talk about it. Thank you.
Kamala Harris: (29:49)
Thank you. Yes.
Garlin Gilchrist: (29:51)
Thank you, Senator. And I’m just excited to have this kind of ally and partner in Washington and in the White House, or rather than what we have today. Next I want to call up to ask another question that’s important, Mr. James Johnson.
James Johnson: (30:08)
Thank you, Lieutenant Governor. Thank you for being with us, Senator.
Kamala Harris: (30:10)
James Johnson: (30:10)
My question for you is this. A lot of Detroit and Southeastern Michigan, they’re losing their jobs and careers to automation. So while we make that transition, we know automation is inevitable, but there’s people who still are losing their jobs with 10, 15, 20 years left on their working careers. Do you see a way where the federal government can assist while they’re making that transition, not only to find new employment, but maintain employment during that transition?
Kamala Harris: (30:35)
Yes, and that’s a wonderful point, and Michigan has such a strong history. And I will remind everyone Joe Biden helped save the auto industry.
Kamala Harris: (30:47)
So we have a whole part of our economic plan. It’s called Build Back Better is the economic plan. That’s the name we’ve given it. There’s a whole part of it that is about investment in innovation and research and development jobs, right? So that’s going to be about STEM and science and what we need to do around the new jobs, the jobs of the 21st century, and then training of the workforce for that around tax credits and what we can do to give people the support they need to transfer their skills into those jobs.
Kamala Harris: (31:16)
There’s also, we have a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, and that’s going to be about everything from building back up roads and bridges, schools, right? All of our public schools are falling apart. When we’re talking about trying to social distance, I mean, it’s going to get cold here soon. And for the kids going back to school in those buildings, the circulation, the ventilation system is so old. We will not let our children drink out of those water fountains that we used to drink out of because it’s toxic water, and I was in Flint earlier.
Kamala Harris: (31:50)
So building back up the infrastructure, but also an investment in renewable energy and renewable energy jobs. So our labor, organized labor, especially around apprenticeship programs, are going to be such an important partner. And I must also emphasize that Joe and I both have a very strong and longstanding commitment to organized labor, to what we need to do to always support collective bargaining, to work against right to work laws. But there is also what we need to do around understanding that we’ve got to build up America’s workforce around the jobs of the 21st century and help people with federal assistance get trained up to do those jobs. And so that’s a big part of our Build Back Better commitment. And thank you.
James Johnson: (32:35)
Thank you so much, Senator.
Kamala Harris: (32:37)
Wendell Anthony: (32:39)
Thank you, Senator. I’m glad you talked about the jobs because a lot of folks forget about the auto industry and they forget that when Obama and Biden were leaving office, we were on a incline. The GDP and the jobs rate and were up. And for some reason, the cat that’s in the White House now seem to think that it began an end with him and that he’s turned everything around, but that’s not necessarily the case.
Wendell Anthony: (33:10)
And so, with this new administration that may yet come, we’re going to vote to make sure that happens, that that may change, the end plan may go. And we cannot get jobs back until we get a hold of the COVID-19 issue. And for some reason, some people think it’s just going to disappear and that we’re not… We’re at 200,000 deaths, Senator. 200,000 Americans are dead. I had three people in my own family that I buried because of COVID-19, several in my church because of COVID-19. It didn’t have to be like this.
Wendell Anthony: (33:52)
And so hopefully, you all can change that, at least with some empathy and sympathy and a program, not no pretense, but some real intentionality of a plan.
Kamala Harris: (34:06)
Wendell Anthony: (34:06)
And so, brother Marloshawn Franklin, who knows about plans, who’s a brother with a plan, I know he is going to come with a question that’s going to get to the essence of what we’re talking about and glad to have you here with you’re yellow and purple SEIU t-shirt on.
Marloshawn Franklin: (34:25)
That’s right. That’s right.
Wendell Anthony: (34:26)
Let’s hear it for SEIU. Okay.
Kamala Harris: (34:26)
Marloshawn Franklin: (34:26)
My name is Marloshawn Franklin. I’m the political director for the SEIU Local 1 and we welcome you-
Kamala Harris: (34:32)
Marloshawn Franklin: (34:32)
With great big arms and hugs here in the state of Michigan and in the city of Detroit. You have been a proponent of SEIU. You were here last year. You did a walk-a-day with one of our janitors, Delores, where you went to work with her for a couple hours during that day.
Kamala Harris: (34:48)
Marloshawn Franklin: (34:49)
We favor you. We are all behind you. We have 2 million members nationwide. On behalf of our president, Mary Kay Henry, we are all behind you and we working those phones and digitally organizing as we go.
Kamala Harris: (35:02)
Marloshawn Franklin: (35:02)
You touched bases a little bit relatively to the $15 an hour. So I want to ask you, Senator, what will you do to ensure that in our Black and Latino communities, that low wage workers will have access to a good union job and at least a minimum of $15 an hour?
Kamala Harris: (35:22)
That’s right. And I appreciate and thank you for all the leadership and the voice you always give working people. So one, it’s about a $15 minimum wage, but again, as a floor, right? Do you know federal minimum wage is $7.25 cents an hour? $7.25 An hour. Nobody can live off of that.
Kamala Harris: (35:44)
So that’s the floor, but it’s also what we need to do to recognize and respect the dignity of work, the value of hard work to all of the society, right? And then pay people their value. You talk about things like home healthcare workers and caregivers who do God’s work. They take care of the sick and the needy. They do it in a way that is physically and emotionally exhausting, and they need to be paid their value with all of the benefits that come with hard and good work, including sick leave, paid family leave, overtime. That’s why I’m sponsoring the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. And historically, we know who domestic workers were, and it is still very much the case today.
Kamala Harris: (36:46)
Essential workers, we praise and honor them. Let’s not treat them like sacrificial workers. They’re out there working without PPEs, again, without sick leave, paid sick leave, paid family leave, disproportionately folks of color, and to the brother’s point, and, and Black women and men. So let’s also recognize that, that it has to be about not only wages and benefits, but giving people a safe place to work.
Kamala Harris: (37:26)
So these are some of the areas of focus for us. And then it’s about, again, paying people their value, because I can’t stress that enough, and understanding that the cost of living in America keeps going up, but wages have remained stagnant. Before this COVID hit, in 99% of the counties in America, if you were a minimum wage worker working full time, you could not afford market rate for a one bedroom apartment. After this thing has hit, we’re looking at tens of millions of people who have become unemployed with no plan to have become unemployed. So no savings, people standing in food lines for hours praying they get to the end of the line before the food runs out. One in five mothers in America is describing her children under the age of 12 as being hungry.
Kamala Harris: (38:28)
So there’s a lot of work to do. Right now, we’re fighting to extend SNAP benefits, right? We used to call it food stamps. Why do people need SNAP benefits? Because they have hungry families and we have to fight for that. We are fighting for that.
Kamala Harris: (38:49)
So these are the things that are at play. And look, Donald Trump, he can walk around prancing around talking about he’s for working people, what has he done for working-
Kamala Harris: (39:03)
… for working people. What has he done for working people? He passed a tax bill benefiting the top 1% and the biggest corporations in America. He gauged this pandemic not based on the number of people who were dying, disproportionately Black and Brown people, but measured it based on his concern about whether it would hurt the stock market. Understand that, understand that we heard his taped conversation in the beginning of February when he told Bob Woodward he knew this thing was airborne and could kill people, and yet he was telling the American people it’s a hoax. He was telling the American people, “If you’re one kind of person, you wear a mask. If you’re another kind of person, you don’t,” because he was more concerned about the stock market than he was about the health and well-being and lives of the American people. That’s real.
Speaker 1: (40:14)
Kamala Harris: (40:14)
And we just hit 200,000. Almost seven million people have got this, people who are going to have longterm consequences, including things like lung scarring, people who have had to bury their family members often without a funeral.
Speaker 1: (40:34)
SEIU stands with you. The Biden-Harris ticket. So thank you. Thank you again.
Kamala Harris: (40:38)
Thanks, brother. Thank you.
Garlin Gilchrist: (40:41)
Thank you, Senator. I mean, you talk about those numbers. It really hits me because, Reverend, you talked about people in your life, Members of Fellowship Chapel, all of us know somebody who’s been infected or who’s died. That’s happened to me 23 times as this pandemic hit. 23 goodbyes, 23 legacies cuts short, and not a single one of them had the die.
Kamala Harris: (41:06)
Right. That’s right.
Garlin Gilchrist: (41:07)
Their death was a policy failure, a policy failure that started with a failure in the White House. That is why the stakes are so high. Let me tell you something else about those 23 people. The majority of them were Black men. That’s why this conversation is important. The stakes are higher in this election for Black men in particular than they have been in any of our lifetimes. And I know that’s a bold statement, but the truth is we have an opportunity to declare and demonstrate the power to shape the future by not leaving our voting power on the table. Somebody told me that 14% of Black men voted for Donald Trump in 2016.
Garlin Gilchrist: (41:59)
Well, this election, I want to tell somebody that less than half of that happened this time, and the way that we will make that true is by each and every one of us, those who we’re connected to, those who we love, those who we depend on and who depend on us, if we take responsibility for this moment and if we say that we are not going to leave any opportunity to, as a powerful people, make our power felt, that’s the only way you even know you’re powerful, is if you use it.
Kamala Harris: (42:33)
Garlin Gilchrist: (42:35)
And I know that we are capable of that. I have seen it before. The question is, will we rise to the challenge to see it again? I think we can do it. Michigan, this is the state that Trump won by the slimmest margin of any state, 10,704 votes, a number that is seared into my mind for the rest of eternity. But I challenge you. There are 11,000 Black men in Michigan who can turn that around. And you’ve heard from Senator Harris, from our next Vice President, not what you’ll be voting against but what you’ll be voting for when you vote for her and Joe Biden. You will vote for a criminal legal system that is less about criminality and more about the creation of opportunity. You will hear about and vote for an education system that recognizes that those of us who fight poverty need deeper investment, not less resources. You have heard about access to healthcare. They will not try to snatch it away from you. They will try to give it to more people.
Garlin Gilchrist: (43:46)
And especially in the aftermath of this pandemic, we will have more Black men, more people of color, who will need access to these life-saving resources. These are the people who will not turn their back on the community because they’ve demonstrated it before. Joe Biden specifically has never turned his back on Detroit. That’s what we’re voting for in the partner in the White House, not someone who insults every elected leader in our state like we have right now. See, it’s not just the insults, not the words, what they represent. It’s the values they represent. And so, Senator, I want to thank you again for prioritizing the city of Detroit, for prioritizing Black men, and recognizing that we all are powerful when we all use our power. And so I would appreciate and be so thankful if you could close us out here, Senator, with a parting thought and what you want to leave us with.
Kamala Harris: (44:47)
Thank you. Thank you, Lieutenant Governor. Well, I just want to thank everyone for your time. Your time is precious. You could be doing many other things right now, and I appreciate you coming together so could have this conversation. I want to stay in touch. We have 42 days to get this done. And I guess my final point will just be about what the Lieutenant Governor said in terms of voting, and it’s this, we talk about history, we talk about the need to speak truth. We know the long history of voter suppression in America. We know the long history of being legally denied the right to vote and access to the polls, and poll tax, and purging of the voter rolls, and all of that. We look at 2013 when the United States Supreme court gutted the Voting Rights Act, and immediately thereafter, about two dozen states put in place policies that made it difficult for Black folks in America to vote.
Kamala Harris: (45:44)
So much so that in North Carolina, as an example, the Court of Appeal said that law was passed with “surgical precision” so to make it difficult for Black voters to vote. Then you look at Russian interference. I serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and I will tell you, please believe everything that has been published. Russia interfered in the election of the President of the United States in 2016. And they will do it again. In 2016, they targeted Black voters. It’s part of the report. And you know why? Because they knew that they could try and tap into a righteous distrust of the system, but with misinformation so that people will be turned off by it and say, “I don’t have time for that mess. I’ve got to go pick up the kids. I’m not going to get it involved.” And then you have President of United States in this upcoming election trying to suggest you can’t trust the system.
Kamala Harris: (46:48)
Now, the question I pose is this, why do you think so many powerful people are trying to prevent Black people from voting in America? Why do you think they are trying to suppress and to make it difficult or to confuse Black people around voting? And the answer is simple, because they know when we vote things change. They know when we vote, we are powerful. And so I say, let us not let them take our power. Let them not get away with trying to take our power in any form, including the power of our vote. And thank you again. Thank you.
Speaker 2: (47:44)
Thank you. Senator.
Wendell Anthony: (47:46)
Thank you, again, Headliners, for opening up their barbershop for us today. Thank you, brother, so much.
Speaker 2: (47:54)
Thank again for coming.
Wendell Anthony: (47:55)
And take your souls to the polls and vote because your life depends upon it. God bless you. (music).