Jul 23, 2020
Kamala Harris Speech Transcript at Virtual Campaign Event for Joe Biden July 23
Kamala Harris spoke at a virtual campaign event for Joe Biden on July 23. She said: “We have to do everything in our power to make sure that we can correct-course in our country, and the best and most significant way we’re going to do that is to elect Joe Biden, president of the United States”. Read the transcript here.
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Representative Carla Cunningham: (00:00)
First, please allow me to personally thank and welcome, Senator Harris, to North Carolina, for joining us for this important discussion. Senator Harris, at this time, I will yield to you.
Senator Harris: (00:14)
Thank you very much. I am honored to be back in North Carolina, at least virtually. Last I was there in August, in Durham, and I love the state, and so I just want to thank everybody there for doing what you do every day. I’m honored to be on this panel with great leaders, with, of course, Representative Cunningham, with Dr. Galloway, and with Cassandra Brooks, and we’re going to be hearing from each of them.
Senator Harris: (00:42)
So I’ll just share with you a couple of my thoughts, but I do want to first just acknowledge, Representative Cunningham, for your work. You are a native to North Carolina, you have been serving the community as a practiced healthcare professional and of course, we are in the midst of a public health crisis and so your leadership is so important, always, and in particular at this time. I know you know and have been dealing with the effects of the pandemic on community and have a very real ability to help lead the discussion in our nation about how we address it in a way that gives people safety and gives them dignity. So I want to thank you, Representative Cunningham, for all the work that you do.
Senator Harris: (01:27)
Of course, being back in North Carolina, as we have been experiencing this bittersweet moment, and the bitter part is the loss of the great John Lewis, but coupled with incredible just pride in who he was and is as an American hero. As you all know, I don’t need to tell you, about those four A&T students and what they believed, which led to the creation of SNCC, and of course, John Lewis served as chair of SNCC. So I just want to make that connection as well.
Senator Harris: (02:05)
So let’s talk about where we are as a country. Right now, we are in the midst of three simultaneous crises, two of recent making and the third that’s been around for hundreds of years. The first, of course, is the pandemic, a public health crisis that has resulted in over 140,000 people in our country, dying. Those souls are lost. It is about a public health epidemic and crisis that, in North Carolina, has created over 105,000 cases and there have been nearly 1,700 deaths in North Carolina alone. And then of course, this public health crisis has led to an economic crisis where there are over 17 million people who are still unemployed and nearly 66,000 businesses have permanently closed since the pandemic struck. And then the third piece of course, is the reason that people, by the thousands and hundreds of thousands, have been marching in the streets of America and around the world, which is to protest what we know has been systemic racism and the need for us to join together, as people have been doing, regardless of race, regardless of age, gender, to say that we as Americans, in an expression of our love of country, must fight so that we can come closer to that ideal of equal justice under law.
Senator Harris: (03:37)
So that’s, in a nutshell, where we are as a country. This is a moment then that requires real leadership, and so we’re all here because we know that real leadership at this moment is going to be here when we elect Joe Biden, president of the United States. North Carolina, of course, has been the subject of so many of the President’s rants, about the Republican convention, but you as Democrats in the state have provided extraordinary leadership and you’ve held firm on putting the safety and health of your citizens first.
Senator Harris: (04:14)
In addition, North Carolina mandated that masks be worn in public to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and expanded testing sites in marginalized communities, so I want to thank you for your leadership. Of course, that again highlights what leaders, real leaders, can accomplish if they are prepared to lead, if they are prepared to embrace truth, to speak truth, to have the courage to speak truth and do it in a way that is about uplifting the people of our country. Again, that brings me back to Joe Biden.
Senator Harris: (04:45)
So, Joe, has been announcing a number of his policy initiatives that are born out of his lifelong work as a public servant and a leader in our country, including obviously his eight years as Vice President. But in particular, recently he has been talking about a plan that is named Build Back Better. The Build Back Better plan. This week, as a component of the Build Back Better plan, Joe announced that he would create three million new jobs in caregiving and in education.
Senator Harris: (05:18)
The pandemic of course, has highlighted that educating our children and caregiving are economic issues. Without childcare for children or someone there to attend to somebody who is sick, it is more difficult for people to go to work, almost impossible for people to go to work. In North Carolina, there are 1.3 million caregivers. Infant care costs nearly 30% more than in-state tuition for four-year colleges. Only 27% of families are able to afford it. Only 27% of families are able to afford care for their children. The average salary for a childcare worker is less than $20,000 a year. So these are some of the issues that are obvious in terms of issues that impact families and that impact our economy and impact all of us in society.
Senator Harris: (06:16)
So Joe’s plan would do a number of things. One, it would expand access to longterm care for the elderly and disabled by eliminating a waitlist for home and community-based services under Medicaid and by increasing the funding. There are a ton of people on the wait list right now, a little less than a million people are on the wait list for all of that, Joe would eliminate that wait list. He would also do what we all know, which is seniors should have the choice. Seniors should have the choice. If they want to live at home, they should have that option, but we know that it’s not a real option unless we give them the support they need in those years of their life to continue living at home. So Joe’s plan would ensure that everyone has that option by having access to home healthcare aids, by improving accessibility in homes, such as ramps, and by making sure that there would be an availability for things like food delivery services. All those things that a senior might need so that they can stay in their home and live with dignity because they are living in a way that they choose to live but with the support they need.
Senator Harris: (07:31)
Joe’s plan would create safe and accessible childcare options and universal pre-K. So what he is doing is making sure that he would provide for all three and four-year-old’s access to free high quality pre-K education. In North Carolina, parents could save more than $8,000 a year because of Joe’s proposal. Joe’s proposal would give an $8,000, aside from that other $8,000 number, an $8,000 tax credit to low and middle class families for childcare. And his plan would expand access to afterschool, weekend, and summer care for families with children up to 13 years of age. Joe’s plan will also build safe, energy-efficient childcare facilities.
Senator Harris: (08:22)
So here’s the thing, half of our country lives in what’s known as childcare deserts, meaning there’s just no childcare available where they live or near where they live or work. Half of Americans. So that means that without that availability of childcare, as we have already discussed, it impairs their ability to go to work, and have a job, and build up their economic health and wellbeing. Before COVID, before the pandemic struck, 43% of parents had difficulty locating childcare. Difficulty meaning it was just too costly, or there weren’t enough open slots, or just a lack of quality childcare programs. So what Joe’s going to do is create a new childcare construction tax credit to encourage businesses to build childcare facilities where the parents work. And as we know, when parents can work near where their children are, when the children know their parents are near where they are… In the best interest of just the emotional wellbeing of all concerned.
Senator Harris: (09:32)
Joe’s plan will also pay caregivers and educators what they deserve. So childcare workers, as I said earlier, make less than $12 an hour and less than $25,000 annually. To address this, Joe will increase pay and benefits for caregivers and home healthcare workers. He will also, and this is very important, guarantee that there will be paid family leave for up to 12 weeks. And he will give workers the choice to join a union and collectively bargain. As we know, unions are part of the backbone of the American middle class, and so that is one of the things Joe believes very deeply, very strongly.
Senator Harris: (10:13)
And last, the plan calls for the passing of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, and that would address the current labor and civil right issues that exist for domestic workers and make sure that they would have protections such as the ability to get paid for overtime and also that they would be protected against discrimination. It also provides to make sure that they would get things like meal breaks, be able to take a break to eat, and also make sure that they are protected against retaliation. So these are some of the things that Joe’s plan will do.
Senator Harris: (10:49)
So in conclusion, I’ll say, there’s no question, we all know that’s why we’re here to join together this afternoon, this is the most important election of our lifetime. There’s no question. I know many of us have said that before, but we didn’t anticipate a moment like this. We didn’t anticipate a moment like this. And so we have to do everything in our power to make sure that we can correct-course in our country, and the best and most significant way we’re going to do that is to elect Joe Biden, president of the United States. But we also, in North Carolina, again, I’ve been there and I know the kind of leaders that you have that are state and local leaders, and it is about those elections also, it is about making sure that you elect not only Joe Biden, but Cal Cunningham and Democrats up and down the state. Please reelect Governor Cooper. I worked with Roy Cooper when he was Attorney General of North Carolina and I was Attorney General of California. He is tough. He is strong. He has got to be reelected. Let’s look forward to new leadership in the White House that will reflect the values and the character of who we really are, so let’s get Joe Biden in that office. With that, I’m going to now turn it back over to Representative Carla Cunningham.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (12:15)
Well, thank you so much for laying out that plan. But also I want to thank you as well, Senator Harris, for your contributions of service that you have made through the years of your service as being in the Senate at the federal level. Now I will move forward to introduce our other panelists. Dr. Gracie Galloway is a nurse practitioner with a PhD in public health from the University of Sacramento, California. Galloway has a long history of providing healthcare in the underserved populations in our state and Dr. Galloway is the President of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party. She lives in Concord with her husband, Joseph. Mrs. Cassandra Brooks is the-
Representative Carla Cunningham: (13:03)
With her husband, Joseph. Mrs. Cassandra Brooks is the owner and operator of Little Believers’ Academy Incorporated. She operates two, five star childcare centers dedicated to quality health care. Mrs. Brooks is married, has four children, including a set of twins. Mrs. Brooks is a member of the upper room church of God in Christ. She is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority incorporated. She serves her community through various volunteer opportunities. And Mrs Brooks currently serves on the [inaudible 00:13:30] County SmartStart Advisory Committee and on the board for the Partnership for Children of Johnson County. Panelists, Gracie, you’re welcome to speak.
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (13:43)
Thank you, state representative Carla Cunningham, my dear and wonderful friend. We’re so formal.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (13:51)
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (13:55)
Yeah, and I am so pleased and humbled to be asked to be on this incredible panel, and incredible event, especially, you know, with Senator Harris headlining it. Yeah, this is a no brainer for me. The one thing I want to just touch on before I… Because I have a minute, I think is, is this concept of paying caregivers and teachers what they’re worth. We put our most precious resources, which is our children in their hands. Why do we not pay them what they deserve? I mean, right?
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (14:46)
Oh you disappeared. There you are. I’m turning it back to you Ms-
Representative Carla Cunningham: (14:53)
Did we lose her?
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (14:58)
Representative Carla Cunningham: (15:00)
I can’t hear her.
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (15:01)
Uh-oh. Yeah for a minute there, the screen went black. Let me see if I can get hold of-
Representative Carla Cunningham: (15:27)
I can hear you Dr. Galloway.
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (15:29)
But can we hear anybody else?
Representative Carla Cunningham: (15:31)
I can’t hear anybody else.
Cassandra Brooks: (15:31)
Yes, I can hear you, this is Cassandra.
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (15:35)
Oh hi Cassandra, okay. The ball’s in your court now.
Cassandra Brooks: (15:40)
Representative Carla Cunningham: (15:41)
So it’s back. Okay, I’ll take it back. Thank you. So now we will move next to Mrs. Brooks, to go ahead and have her few minutes to speak. Thank you.
Cassandra Brooks: (15:55)
Thank you. I’m just going to hang out. Again, I just thankful, like Dr. Galloway, to be here. I’m excited to be on this panel, excited to read about the plan, and how will it affect the childcare industry? Like in my bio, I operate two, five star childcare facilities in North Carolina. We serve children that have been in foster care, Child Protective Services, children that have serious trauma. And we serve families of essential workers and families who are struggling daily to survive. So this plan is just phenomenal and I’m excited to be a part of this panel today. Thank you for having me.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (16:35)
Thank you, Mrs. Brooks. Recently half of the daycares in the state of North Carolina shut down once COVID happened, and the ones that remained open really we’re providing essential workers services for their children, and their childcare. Just yesterday, I got a call from a parent, and he’s a single parent and he said, Look, I’m not sending my kids back to school, and it’s costing me five to $7,000 a month for one child.” So we definitely know that there’s a struggle, and there’s a need for us to invest in early childhood daycare and development. So let’s move to some questions to you, Mrs. Brooks and Dr. Galloway. So what is the importance of protecting childcare and healthcare workers, in the country and specifically in North Carolina, because we definitely have seen a huge sacrifice of those essential workers. Gracie, would you like to go first?
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (17:38)
Yes, I will address the healthcare portion because Ms Brooks [inaudible 00:17:43] address the childcare. So when COVID started, and we had the first case in Washington state, because I remembered the SARS virus and I remember Ebola, I immediately, my public health antennas kind of kicked in and I said, “Okay, we have to protect number one, our healthcare providers. Because without a healthcare providers, who’s going to take care of the sick? If our healthcare providers start falling by the wayside, then what happens to our sick people? Where are they going to go, and what are they going to do?” Unfortunately, with this orange person living in the people’s house right now, those precautions of PPE, of the normal precautions of isolation, so the respiratory isolation, the aerosol isolation, the airborne isolation were not followed. We had zero, absolutely zero, y’all know this zero national response.
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (18:48)
So as a result here we are in North Carolina where we had a wonderful governor who said, “Lockdown”, which was great. I personally feel we reopened too soon, but that’s me personally. At this point in time, our healthcare providers, especially our nurses are truly overwhelmed. My daughter is an emergency room nurse up here in Concord, and she tells me, “Mom, I leave at the end of the day. And I feel like I’ve worked for a week solid. It’s so tiring.” Because they have to wear a mask all the time. They have to wear, if they’re going into a room where a person is suspected of having COVID, then they have to gown up completely. We cannot afford. This is the only country that I know of, well, maybe not, but this country, this wonderful country, we have lost healthcare providers to COVID. They have died from COVID while the suicided because of COVID. So, if other countries like New Zealand can bring their COVID numbers does zero and under control, and not have one single healthcare provider infected, why can’t we?
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (20:10)
And that is [inaudible 00:20:12] the question I ask myself every single day. Why can’t we? What? The small country of Singapore can handle COVID so well and say, “You know what? Our GDP dropped by 12.3%, but that’s okay because we’ve saved lives, and we have no healthcare providers that have contracted COVID,” why can’t we?
Representative Carla Cunningham: (20:39)
Thank you so much. Dr. Gracie Galloway. Now Mrs. Brooks, I would like to dive into the childcare, and what the plan that Vice President Biden is putting forward. How would that help with childcare workers, healthcare workers, children, parents and seniors and those caregivers that are not getting anything, but providing a service?
Cassandra Brooks: (21:04)
Yes, Representative Cunningham. That plan is amazing. During my course of working in childcare and being an owner, I have lost two childcare workers, prematurely. They died of a preventable condition. Lastly, Ms. Brenda [inaudible 00:21:21] died about a year ago in April, and she left behind three children. She worked in childcare for over 25 years, and she loved working with children and families, and they loved her too. But unfortunately she did not have health insurance. She did not make a living wage. She, just like the fact, she made under $20,000. She could not afford to go to the doctor, and unfortunately she passed away very early, at a young age, from a preventable condition, and she left behind three children. But this plan, the plan that has been laid out would provide higher to teachers and stronger [inaudible 00:08:57]. I believe if we had this plan today, Ms. Brenda would still be here. And so this plan is so important, and so important to the childcare workers in the workforce that we have right now. Especially going through COVID; I know of teachers right now who have been in the hospital this week because they have contracted COVID-19 while working alongside young children in the childcare setting. So we need this plan. We need the plan, because he’s going to invest $775 billion over 10 years to help stabilize the childcare community. And so this plan is so important
Senator Harris: (22:35)
And Representative Cunningham… Hello?
Representative Carla Cunningham: (22:40)
Thank you. Go ahead, Senator.
Senator Harris: (22:45)
I think that part of the point here also is, this is also about what’s morally right in our country, because the stories that we are hearing from Dr. Galloway from Ms. Brooks, also, it’s about frankly, moral outrage. These are the workers, the professionals, who have taken on a life of caregiving. If we are motivated at all, and I think most of us are, in thinking about the least of these. These are the workers that do that work every day. And through the course of this pandemic, continue to do the work. And as Ms. Brooks was saying, at great risk to themselves and their own families. And so, we also have to look at it from that context. So this is about workers’ rights. It’s about paying people, their value and the dignity of work.
Senator Harris: (23:43)
But it is also about recognizing the special nature of the work that we’re talking about. It’s taking care of the elderly, taking care of the sick, taking care of our children, and doing it in a way that is not just about pushing a button, but it’s doing it with love, doing it with a sense of emotional connection to the people that they’re caring for. And that takes a lot out of an individual to do that, right? Because it really does take the whole being to do it. And so when I think about Joe’s plan, it really does take that into account as well. And that’s something Joe Biden talks about all the time, which is the dignity of work, which is seeing the value of the people that are doing this work every day, and the pride they take in their work, and our responsibility then as a nation and as leaders to value that work in every way we should. Which is about salaries, which is about sick leave, which is about having a protected workplace, including to the point we were discussing; PPEs, masks, things like that, that during the course of this pandemic will allow these specific caregivers to be safe, so that they don’t risk injury to themselves or their families when they’re taking care of others.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (25:00)
Thank you, Senator Harris. It touches my heart when we start talking about seniors, and we start talking about caregivers, and disabled children, and adults as well. And I wanted to recognize one thing currently. In the state of North Carolina, right now we added 238,000 people that do not have healthcare coverage at all. And that was in addition to the 500,000 people that were already left out, because we did not expand Medicaid. And during this COVID period, we know that the states that expanded have done a much better job in providing services to the additional people that they covered through Medicaid. Also, I wanted you all to know that each time a client goes into an intensive care setting, and they have COVID, it requires five to six healthcare professionals to provide care for that individual. Some of the people that we never talk about, we talk about the nurses, we talk about the doctors, but we don’t talk about the certified-
Representative Carla Cunningham: (26:03)
Talk about the nurses. We talk about the doctors, but we don’t talk about the certified nurse assistants. And we don’t talk about the respiratory therapists who have to actually take care of those people on those ventilators. And so those certified nurse assistants are making less than $25,000 a week, and they’re requiring childcare. And they’re providing senior care, and they’re doing the extraordinary. Some of them are even working two jobs. We need our equity in pay, especially for the essential workers that’s on the front line. And look, our minimum wage hadn’t been raised in probably 15 years. I would like to move forward to each of you, Cassandra and Dr. Gracie, who’s on the front lines, who’s serving during the pandemic, to share with us what you all have seen as significant impacts on the COVID-19, on childcare needs and healthcare needs.
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (27:11)
Thank you so much, Carla, for this opportunity. For those of you who know me, and for those of you who don’t, I provide free healthcare to the uninsured and the underinsured. When I say healthcare, I mean healthcare, which includes the visits, includes lab work, x-rays, medications. If they have a wound that needs to be dressed, supplies. And we also have a food pantry, because the majority of our patients are homeless or have no job, or they’re the working poor. They work two and three jobs like Carla was saying. If you could pay $7.25 an hour and you work 40 hours a week, do the math. That’s nothing. And then you’ve got to pay childcare on top of it.
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (28:06)
I had a patient come in the other day and tell me she was looking for her third job, not her second, her third job, because the cheapest childcare she could find was $400 a week. With the two jobs, she brings home 500 a week. So if you give childcare 400, she has $100 left. She can’t even pay the rent. You’re going to end up with a homeless family. Yeah, absolutely. We must increase the basic living… We’ve got to make it a living wage. Our numbers, what we did is we relaxed our rules a whole lot when this COVID thing happened. And we said, “Look. You don’t have to fill out this many forms. If you are sick and you need help, come on. We will help you. We will do everything we can for you.” We don’t take state or federal money. We function by grants. We function by donations, bake sales, whatever. And our volunteers, obviously, because we would not be able to make it without our volunteers.
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (29:27)
We also are able to function through people like Representative Carla Cunningham, who speaks up for us in the general assembly and says, “Wait a minute. You’re all forgetting about the free clinics of North Carolina. They need help too, because this is the service that they’re doing.” And so thanks to the voice of Representative Carla Cunningham, we were the recipients of 100,000 of money from the state, which was amazing, because who would have thought? We thought it all went to Donald Trump’s fence. I know, I know. So the front lines is scary right now. We insist in our clinic, if you show up, you must have a mask. If you don’t have a mask, we’ll give you one. We make them wash their hands when they come in. We wipe down the door knobs after they have opened the door, and then we leave the door open, because we only allow one patient in at any given time.
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (30:32)
That is the safest way we can do because we do not need our very high risk population who may have nowhere to stay wandering the streets and then possibly infecting others. That’s all we’re doing in Concorde in Cabarrus County, a little rural county. And we help a lot of veterans as well, because the closest veteran facility is 26 miles away from Concord. Our veterans don’t have the transportation, many. Many of them don’t. Many of them are homeless. And so instead of trying to hitch a ride to the VA, they know that if they come see me, I will treat them. And I will take care of them for free, and I’ll get them what they need. That’s because we know I have a tremendous love for veterans. I thank them every day.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (31:27)
Thank you. Thank you so much, Dr. Galloway. Mrs. Brooks, would you like to respond?
Cassandra Brooks: (31:34)
Sure. Thank you, Representative Cunningham. I have seen it from so many angles. Recently, we had a program where, during the crisis when the state was shut down, I have a single mom. She has three children, Ms. Latoya, beautiful smile. And she was in the nurse residency program. And unfortunately, that program ended the end of May, and her three children were no longer able to attend childcare because she couldn’t afford it. And it really hurt her to her heart that she could not afford childcare and that she could not go serve on the front lines, alongside other nurses to work with the pandemic.
Cassandra Brooks: (32:15)
It’s really a sad situation. But with this plan, and as I was reading it, Ms. Latoya would have been able to go serve on the front lines. The plan gives $6,000 a year towards childcare costs. She would have been able to go to work and serve on the front lines, have this plan had already been in play. And even over the universal pre-K for three and four year olds, I have had that state funded program just for four year olds called North Carolina Pre-K at both of my schools. And I’ve seen the tremendous growth that has provided to the children and to the families, just tremendous growth from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. And this is just not with my eyes.
Cassandra Brooks: (32:56)
This is what data that I’ve seen, the collection of data throughout the year. And the plan provides free childcare for three and four year olds. And so it would save North Carolina families $8,000 a year to be able to send their three and four year olds to school. And early education is so important. So super important. We need it now more than ever, because we need to prepare them to take care of the world past COVID-19, past all of this. We need to prepare these children early. And so the plan is amazing. It’s invested in young children, and that’s the best that we can do to help all of us on the panel. Because guess what? They’re going to take care of one of us one day. We’re going to need some help. And so, that is so important.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (33:44)
Senator Harris, would you like to go ahead and make your closing remarks, Senator Harris?
Senator Harris: (33:51)
Thank you, Representative Cunningham. First of all, again, I want to thank everybody for speaking truth and sharing these stories. These are difficult issues to think about, to talk about it, and certainly to address. And so I just, again, want to say that we need solutions to the problems, and Joe Biden is offering us solutions to the problems. He sees the problems. One of the things that I really find to be one of Joe’s incredible strengths is, he has an incredible ability to empathize with people, to understand what suffering is. He has suffered in his life, and he cares deeply about people. And he wants to take care of people. He wants to end suffering. One of his signature, big roll-outs that he decided to take on an issue like childcare, home health care work, childcare workers, I think speaks volumes about, again, Joe Biden and his character.
Senator Harris: (34:59)
And it’s about time we have a president who actually concerns themselves with the least of these. And that’s who he is. And so again, his plan is about expanding longterm care for the elderly, giving them a choice if they want to stay at home or be in a facility, but make sure they have the resources they need and cut through the waiting lists that are existing right now. He wants to create safe and accessible childcare options and pay childcare workers what they deserve. Make sure that they have the sick leave that they need and the paid family leave that they need, but also to have childcare for three and four year olds, universal pre-K for three and four year olds, which is so important to their education, but also to their parents’ ability to actually leave home and take on their work.
Senator Harris: (35:51)
And then the work that he’s doing in terms of the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, which again, is about the dignity of work and making sure that people are protected in every way that they deserve. So again, I want to thank the panel for all that you do. And let’s elect Joe Biden. It’s almost a hundred days away. It’s days away. And there’s so much at stake, and there is nothing about this election we can take for granted. So I thank you all, and I hope to see you in person in North Carolina sometime soon. But until then, thank you all for your leadership.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (36:24)
Senator Harris, before you go, I wanted to share just a little bit of knowledge that I was able to get a couple of years ago from Ambassador Rasool, who was the ambassador to the South Africa under Barack Obama’s presidency. What he says, is that your experience and your struggles qualify you to lead because you take them with you. And I believe that experience that Vice President Biden has had is losing his wife the first time around it. Now his son, who he lost to cancer. He understands the death and has the compassion and the understanding. And so that level of empathy really carries weight. And I just wanted to share that with you.
Senator Harris: (37:06)
Thank you. Thank you. And thanks for your leadership. Thank you.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (37:10)
Thank you, Miss Brooks, would you like to go ahead and… Mrs. Brooks, go ahead and make your closing remarks, please.
Cassandra Brooks: (37:17)
Yes. Thank you, Representatives Cunningham. I believe in this plan because I have seen it from both sides. I have seen the struggling teacher, who is homeless and on public assistance. I have seen the homeless mom, who is living out of her car with her three children. But guess what? They still do it with a smile on their face. I believe one day, early educators will not be on public assistance. I believe one day, families will be able to get the care that they want and can afford for their children. I believe one day, we will have a stronger infrastructure for childcare, and it will be better than we have now. We’ll build it back better. And that day is November the third. Go vote.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (38:03)
Okay. Dr. Galloway, I will finish up with you and your closing remarks.
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (38:10)
Thank you, Representative Cunningham. I’m going to get formal on you now. I absolutely have been on the Biden team since day one. Full disclosure, four years ago, I started out with Bernie, but when Hillary got the nomination, I worked my heart out for her. But this year, there was absolutely no question in my mind that Joe Biden is the man and the person who does understand. We can tell our anecdotal stories all day long, but when you meet the vice president and you look in his eyes, he’s actually listening to every word you’re saying. He’s not just being a politician and being polite. No.
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (39:03)
Just being a politician and being polite, you know that you have his 100% attention. And every story of hardship and every story of pain to the American citizen, you can see causes him this, it’s almost a pain, that he expresses in his eyes. I mean, I’ve seen him on TV just talking about certain things, and I think, my gosh, he’s going to cry any minute. But that’s good. That’s good. That tells me and tells all of us that, yes, we know him, but he knows us more importantly.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (39:43)
Thank you so much, Dr. Gracie. I wanted to share also, I have met Vice President Biden personally, and have acknowledged that he is such a polite person and very tentative. So he has that personal touch, which you don’t see in a lot of people, especially you us. But he does have it. Now, we’re ahead of time actually, and I’m going to yield back to Senator Harris and see if there’s anything else that she would like to highlight in the plan. Senator Harris.
Senator Harris: (40:21)
Yes, absolutely. Let’s go through a little bit. I’d like to talk a little bit more about our seniors and ask the panel about what you are seeing in North Carolina in terms of how our seniors are experiencing this. Are you seeing that that they’re reaching out for help? Are you seeing anything in terms of, obviously the scare around the nation about seniors living in assisted living facilities? What has that experience been for you in North Carolina? Because obviously among the groups that are vulnerable to this pandemic, our seniors are one of those groups.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (41:07)
I will go ahead and share some of the knowledge that I do know. We know that those congregate settings are really still struggling in all of our senior skilled nursing facilities, as well as assisted living adult care centers also, which held our IDD population and some of the mental health clients. So we know that they are struggling because of social isolation, people cannot go in and visit because of COVID. And we know that the majority of people that are dying are our seniors. They’re our seniors in these skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, wherever they are. And it’s a tough time. We’ve been trying to figure out how to decrease the social isolation because we’re starting to hear of more of them getting into anxiety and depression. So it is really major right now, and we have not figured out how to mitigate the pandemic or the COVID-19 within our congregate settings.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (42:15)
Our Department of Health and Human Services through the state has done a good job, but I think having the accessibility to PPE early on provided to those people working inside of those facilities, that really hurt us. And now we are [inaudible 00:42:31] for a reagent, so now we’ve slowed down on testing because the reagent is not available. So that impacts our seniors. But when it impacts our seniors, it impacts the entire family because it’s generational, that touch, and you really want to keep some seniors around for educational knowledge and wisdom. And right now we’re struggling. I’ll yield to Ms. Brooks or Dr. Gracie.
Cassandra Brooks: (42:58)
Yes, Senator Harris, I recently from point of view, personal, I lost my aunt in May of this year and she was in a care facility. And just like Representative Cunningham said, they go through the isolation and the different things. I think that’s really what shut her down. But I did like in the plan where they will have an option. Seniors will have an option to go home, and I believe that they’re able to go home and be around the ones who love them, their families would encourage them to get better, or at least feel better and get through those days, your end days. And so, I feel it personally that my aunt was in assisted living in her last days and she was very isolated. And remember my aunt going to visit at the very end, and she said, “Oh, you found me. You found me.” She thought that her family had lost her. And I equate that to a young child, if a young child is in the store and your mom leaves you, you’re scared. You’re looking for that person.
Cassandra Brooks: (44:03)
And so, I’m just thankful for the plan. We’ll all get to that age one day, we’ll need that care. And also we’ll be able to make that choice, do we want to go home and get care in our home, or do we want to go to an assisted living facility? But I just really believe if she would have been able to go home, if this plan would have been in play back in May, she may still be here with us.
Senator Harris: (44:27)
I’m sorry for your loss. What’s your aunt’s name?
Cassandra Brooks: (44:31)
Senator Harris: (44:33)
Lydia Jonakan. Okay. So in her name, we are doing this work in addition to everybody else, right?
Cassandra Brooks: (44:41)
Thank you. Thank you, Ms. Harris. Thank you.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (44:43)
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (44:45)
Yeah. So in the social isolation among seniors is actually, they’re more impacted because it’s a generation that socialized. The neighbors, you went to your neighbor’s house and you carried a casserole or something like that, and you shared, and your children grew up together, they went to the same schools together and you watched the children grow up. And maybe the boy next door married the girl next door. But Cabarrus County in North Carolina is filled with stories like this, of families growing up together, getting old together, entire neighborhoods growing up together and getting old together and being used to socialization and now suddenly they have this isolation. So what we’ve done is, we’ve got a day a week where we make phone visits to our seniors and we just talk about whatever they want to talk about, share recipes, whatever. And let me tell you what, I am the recipient. I’m the one that gets the benefit because they got some great stories. I love their stories.
Dr. Gracie Galloway: (46:09)
One of them said to me, you know that in North Carolina if you see somebody across the street waving at you, it’s not because he’s friendly, he’s just waving the [inaudible 00:46:19] away. You get stories like that, and come on, you can’t beat that with [inaudible 00:46:29]. But yeah, so that’s what we’ve been doing on a weekly basis. But, we’re thinking it might be better if we did it more than once a week, because once a week is truly, it’s good, but it’s not enough. So that’s what we’re doing to try and help.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (46:53)
Thank you so much, Dr. Gracie. I just want to share a little bit of stats on the aging population in the state of North Carolina. In 10 years, a significant number of close to 80% live in the rural areas will be over the age of 65. So we are definitely an aging state. Right now most of the millennials or generation X, Y, they live inside of the urban areas. But the majority of our population is going to be aging. So we definitely got to be looking forward to having healthcare providers, home health, hospice services, palliative care services, certified nurse assistants who go in and provide that necessarily daily care to allow as many people to remain at home in the comfort of their homes and familiarity.
Senator Harris: (47:46)
Yeah. And that’s Joe’s plan. And in fact, part of his plan is also about the job creation that will come with that new approach. So we estimate at least 150,000 new jobs just on that piece around that home health care for seniors and the aged. Yeah, that’s right.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (48:09)
Thank you so much, Senator Harris. I mean, what more can you ask for as we move forward? Yes, we have a generation coming, but we have a generation in front of us that are depending on us to assist them with the quality of their lives. And so it’s very important that we move forward with supporting President Biden. I’m going to go ahead and call it out. Let me go ahead and call it out.
Senator Harris: (48:37)
That’s right. Claim it.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (48:42)
President Biden. That’s right. Claim it and say it. Now look, usually when I do that I’m right. Now most of the time I’m very seldom wrong. That intuition kicked in. But I want to thank you all for attending this event and for taking the opportunity to tell your stories, keep it real, and to speak validity to what we’re going to be facing moving forward to November, and for years to come because COVID is not over yet. Till we get a vaccine, COVID will be around. But a lot of these issues existed before COVID, and now it has really gotten worse due to, I can say a failure of federal leadership. I’ll go ahead and put that out there. We are struggling. We’re leading when we shouldn’t be leading in certain things, and it’s sad. It’s sad.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (49:39)
But I wanted to thank each of you for attending. But I want you also to take an action. Anybody on this call, don’t just get off this call and say, oh, I was just on the call with so-and-so. I want you to take an action. That’s what I’m about is the action. So when you take the action, I want you to go and visit firstname.lastname@example.org to review the Vice President Biden’s Caring Plan Act, because it’s going to be important that you share it. We are talking, we’re video. Video in, I don’t care how you do it, Zoom, WebEx, you can YouTube, whatever you have to do, keep the conversation going about what we need to be doing, not just for everybody else, but you know what a lot of us have been through that. A lot of us have been single parents. I was a single parent at 25, had two children first time. And then I was single again for 17 years. So I know what it is about childcare, and most of us on this call do.
Representative Carla Cunningham: (50:38)
So I want you to keep the conversation going. So Carlton people, you at home every day, we at home every day, call 10 people, tell them 10 people call another 10 people. Ask for your absentee ballot, get ready to vote. November coming. And how are we going to vote?
Senator Harris: (50:58)
Representative Carla Cunningham: (51:00)
Joe Biden 2020. We can’t wait. We can’t wait. So this concludes the event, and I would just like to thank each one of you all for all your services. Senator Harris, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us in North Carolina to have this serious discussion. Thank you so much.
Senator Harris: (51:23)