Oct 22, 2020
Kamala Harris ‘Women for Biden’ Virtual Rally Transcript October 22
Kamala Harris held a “Women for Biden” virtual rally on October 22. Read the transcript of the event here.
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Symone Sanders: (00:00)
So, so thrilled that she can be here. Elsa, where are you? Go right ahead.
Elsa Osorio Carmona: (00:03)
[foreign language 00:00:31].
Symone Sanders: (01:55)
Oh my goodness. Elsa, thank you so much for your work and your words. I know how much this means to you. And Senator, before you respond, for folks who don’t speak Spanish like myself, even though I can catch a couple of words, I am going to share a rough translation of Elsa’s question. Her question is, knowing what the future could hold, especially with Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court, how important is this election and what should everyone know about how you and Vice President Biden will fight for women and families?
Kamala Harris: (02:32)
Gracias, Elsa, and mucho gusto. There is so much at stake, as you have rightly mentioned. You look at this nomination to the court. So it is at the United States Supreme Court that we interpret the constitution of the United States and make decisions and statements about the rights of the people. The rights of the people. La gente. And so when we look at who is in the position to make the decision, it matters. And it is important to us, and to Joe Biden and to me, that the people who are making decisions about the rights of women to control their own bodies, that those people respect the agency and the power and the authority of women to make the decisions that are in their best interests, and to make those decisions in consultation with whomever they choose, their priest, their pastor, their rabbi, their doctor, their spouse, their family. But it should not be Donald Trump.
Kamala Harris: (03:55)
And it should not be Mike Pence making that decision for the women. And so that is why we fight. And Joe Biden and I will fight to ensure that we protect a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions, her own reproductive healthcare decisions. And we know that the Republicans are trying to take away healthcare right now and attack reproductive rights and jam a nomination through. Joe and I support repealing the Hyde Amendment. Because listen, Joe knows that everyone should have access to healthcare and be able to exercise their constitutional rights regardless of their income and regardless of their zip code. We will send a bill to Congress to make sure that we codify Roe V. Wade, and only appoint judges who uphold Roe V. Wade. Because unlike some of these nominees, we believe Roe V. Wade is precedent, if not super precedent, and must not be changed.
Kamala Harris: (05:00)
Because we understand what Ruth Bader Ginsburg and so many others understood. It is as much as anything an essential right, if not a fundamental right, of women to have the decision and the decision-making ability over their own bodies. In addition, Joe Biden and I will restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Because again, we also know that it is at Planned Parenthood, and all of them, NARAL is represented. All of these agencies, we know have historically been trusted by the women in the community. And we want women to be able to go to a place where they can walk in without judgment, and be able to talk and speak and be heard with respect and dignity around their healthcare needs.
Kamala Harris: (05:52)
And so, Joe and I understand that to do that, we need to support and fund Planned Parenthood, understanding that historically and presently that is where women go for a variety of their healthcare needs. And of course we will protect and build on Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act. And let’s not forget, Donald Trump is in court right now trying to take it away. But we’re not going to let him. And that’s why we’re going to make sure everyone votes and votes early, so we can win this thing and keep moving.
Elsa Osorio Carmona: (06:25)
Gracias, y si se puede.
Kamala Harris: (06:30)
Muy amable. Gracias. Si se puede.
Symone Sanders: (06:32)
Thank you, Elsa. All right, Senator, of course, of course, you just… Oh, I’m just fired up, y’all. I’m passing the plate yet again. I’m passing the plate. We are fired up and ready for election deadlines. Our next question, Senator, is from Brittany Mostiller, who is a reproductive justice leader. Brittany, the floor is yours. Oh, Brittany, you’re on mute. I know, right? I’m just here to help, girl. I’m here to help.
Brittany Mostiller: (07:06)
I work remote and that’s always the thing I do. So let’s start that over. Thank you, Symone, and thank you, Senator Harris, for having me here. I am really excited. When I was 22, I was a mom with three daughters and holding down a part-time job at a grocery store, and I realized I was pregnant again. I couldn’t afford another child then, not emotionally, physically or financially. And the decision to have an abortion was easy for me. That was the easy part. But I simply couldn’t afford it. When I gave birth to my three daughters, Medicaid was my insurance and it covered every aspect of my pregnancy and the delivery of my daughters. So I assumed it would cover my abortion, but because of the Hyde Amendment, it didn’t. So I had to figure out how to pay the $900 for the abortion out of pocket.
Brittany Mostiller: (07:54)
That was more money than I made in a month. It took several weeks to save up, which meant that while I tried to get the abortion during the first trimester, I was pushed to later in my pregnancy before I could finally afford the procedure. And this was really challenging for me and my children. It was a very disheartening experience. As Destiny said earlier, Roe isn’t a reality for any of us. It certainly wasn’t for me. We need to end the Hyde Amendment and undo burdensome abortion restrictions. Thankfully, the law has changed in Illinois, and people enrolled in Medicaid now have abortion coverage.
Brittany Mostiller: (08:30)
Unfortunately, that’s not the case in more than half of the states. And it is doubly difficult when combined with the thousands of abortion restrictions. Millions of people live in states that are very hostile to abortion. If we want to protect and expand abortion access, we need to elect reproductive justice and rights champions at every level of government, from the White House to city council. It’s going to take all of us to ensure that we get to the polls and that every vote is counted. What can everyone listening do in their own communities to make sure that the most of their time between now and election day gets the right people in office?
Kamala Harris: (09:13)
Thank you, Brittany. And thank you for having the courage to share your story. Thank you for that. Listen, you hit it on the head. Elections matter. Elections matter, and they matter up and down the ballot. So, the race for president and who’s in the White House without any question matters. And back to the last conversation, it matters in terms of who holds a seat on the United States Supreme Court and who gets to make decisions about what the federal government will fund and not fund. But state elections matter. Who is in the State House matters. Local elections matter. In terms of all of those positions of authority and the bully pulpit that comes with it, and whether they are going to be there to fight for women’s rights, and to fight for equity and equality, and fight for the self-determination of all women.
Kamala Harris: (10:13)
So I would say that, look, this election is coming up in 12 days. But again, it’s going on right now. I was in Florida for the first day of early voting. And then I was in North Carolina for the first day of early voting there. Folks are voting around the country. So, let’s remind everyone to vote early. And again, to my earlier comments, let’s remind everyone of their power. We are so powerful as women. We are so powerful. And we have to remember that no one gets to give us our power. We are born with it. It’s ours. The thing is to never let anybody take your power. The thing is to know that power, that you were born with, and that includes around election time using your voice, that powerful voice you have, by voting. So vote early. We’re asking folks to text, I’m going to give you a place to text and a number, to find out where you can vote and also to find out where you can return a vote-by-mail ballot.
Kamala Harris: (11:26)
So text polls, P-O-L-L-S, to 30330. And that way you can find out. Because look, the reality is also that powerful people right now are trying to make it difficult for us to vote. There are powerful people right now that are trying to make it confusing. And you know why? Because they know the power that we have when we vote. They know the power of the people. So again I say, let’s not let anyone take our power from us. Let’s make sure we all vote. And also I’d encourage people to volunteer at joebiden.com/events and get involved, and just make a plan to vote. I’m asking folks to make a plan like we make a plan for so much in our lives. And we as women, we’re always writing our lists and making our plans because we have to. We’ve got so much going on.
Kamala Harris: (12:20)
So, write down when you’re going to vote, write down where you’re going to vote, write down how you’re going to vote. Are you going to vote early? Are you going to drop it in a box, if you can do that in terms of early voting, in a drop box? Are you going to go on Election Day? And then just make sure that you vote, and do vote early if you can. And again, my last point will be this. It is so important that in these moments, particularly in these last several months when people have really been devastated by the health crisis, by the economic crisis, by so much, and then being asked to distance and isolate, and it’s so important that we remind everyone to not feel alone.
Kamala Harris: (13:12)
Don’t let this circumstance, this moment, or anything or anyone make you feel alone. We are all in this together. Look at all these powerful, powerful women. We are all in this together, all of us. And so remember that. Remember you come with people. You come with people. You come with all of us, and we will always march together. We will shout together. We will dance together. We will sing together. And we will vote together. All right, everybody, I’ll see you later and soon I hope.
Symone Sanders: (13:49)
Oh, thank you so much, Senator Harris. Thank you, Brittany. Thank you, Elsa. Folks, let’s hear it for our next vice president, Kamala Harris. I mean, I’m out of plate passes because this was just excellent. Thank you so much, Senator.
Kamala Harris: (14:05)
Symone Sanders: (14:06)
Everyone, thank you. We’ll see you soon. Well folks, we have just heard how much is at stake and how important it is for us to bring it home. So now let’s talk about how we get this done in these final 12 days. First, if you haven’t already, as Senator Harris said, make a plan to vote, and then you have to help others make a plan to vote. Go to Iowavote.com to get the info you need to cast your ballot. Secondly, sign up for a virtual phone bank with Women for Biden. Every weekend we have phone banks you can join.
Symone Sanders: (14:40)
We’ve got one this weekend. So go to Joe.link/womenweekend to find one that works for you. We need you, ladies. And third, you can sign up to join Women for Biden during our final four day GOTV marathon, because it’s not over ladies. We have to fight all the way to the finish and then some. Starting next Saturday, October 31st, all the way through Tuesday, November 3rd, Women for Biden will host a virtual GOTV marathon. And we need you to be there. So go to joe.link/women, GOTV, and sign up for a shift or two or three or four or five. Sign up for the whole day, so we can reach voters in the final four days of this election.
Symone Sanders: (15:31)
Now for the deep dive. I’m going to leave y’all. I got a little work to do. The colleagues are in here. We’re about to go on over. Kate Beddingfield is here waving to you all. So, I have to leave you, but I’m going to leave you in very capable hands. I’m going to turn you over to Biden for President Expansion States Director, Caroline Grey, to talk us through how we win this thing, how we win this fight. So Caroline, welcome. The folks are in your capable hands now. And let me tell you, I’m just fired up and ready to go. So, I hope you can bring it home.
Caroline Grey: (16:06)
Amazing. Thank you so much, Symone, and I am so excited to bring it home with this team of powerful women. I wish you guys could see my notebook because it is scribbled with quotes from all the inspiring speakers who have shared with us today. The one that really struck me was Senator Harris talking about the agency and authority of women. And that’s what I am here to empower you guys to wrangle. I’m here to give you your marching orders and to give you something that you can do right as this call ends and through Election Day to empower the people that you know to return their ballots, to vote in-person, to vote early and to elect this amazing ticket. So let’s take it away. I have a bit of a slideshow to share.
Caroline Grey: (16:46)
Fantastic. So by way of background, I am a long-time organizer. I’m an Obama child. I started out during the Iowa caucus, had the honor of working for Senator Warren earlier during this cycle. And I’m so happy to be back with Vice President Biden. He’s truly family, and I can’t wait to take this home. As you guys are doing this, if you have questions or want to find me afterwards, feel free to slide into my DMs. I am there to make sure that you guys know how to organize. So let’s take it to the next slide. One thing that is going to be super useful is downloading the Vote Joe app. If you guys are screenshotters or if you have your iPhones out and want to take a picture, this is the slide to take a picture of. To download the app, you text Vote Joe to 30330. The link will appear in your inbox, and you will be able to follow along. Couple more options there for you.
Caroline Grey: (17:33)
But it’s certainly the tool that we’re going to be talking about today and using forever. Next, please. So distributed organizing. You will find that in this industry, like many others, jargon is the way of it. One more slide, please. Distributed organizing is something that we’ve actually been doing for a really long time. If you guys saw me in my earlier cameo, you saw that I was wearing a beret. Distributed organizing has a beret. It is just the organizing we’ve been doing since forever. One way to think about it is out-of-state organizing. And the map that you see before you is our gold battleground states lit up, but aided by our gray states, our non-battlegrounds, that are knit together by the powerful tools that we’ve been using here on the Biden campaign to expand the map and do work in states like Texas and Georgia that aren’t necessarily considered battlegrounds during presidential cycles.
Caroline Grey: (18:27)
Next, please. One way to think about this is a just basic definition. Back in my day, when I first started out as an organizer, I was the organizer for Barack Obama in West Des Moines, Iowa. I had a grand total of 11 precincts that I talked to over and over and over again through Caucus Day. And distributed organizing treats it differently. We organize people not by where they live, but by impact. We talk to the person who most needs to hear from this campaign, whether it’s by phone or by text, and make sure that they have what they need to do to support this incredible ticket. One more.
Caroline Grey: (19:07)
And the scale of this program is exponential. We can slide through these things. But this next slide, I think it really reminds me of the old maps that we used to see of where offices were. I think that you used to volunteer if an office was within driving distance, had good parking, was maybe near a coffee shop that you didn’t mind sitting in. The thing that distributed organizing does is it empowers every single volunteer in this country to be a force for this campaign. We’ve committed to doing millions of calls, sending millions of texts. And that is because we’ve knit together all of our supporters in non-battlegrounds to have this incredible impact. My mom is one of our volunteers, and I hope she’s actually on today, because I think that one thing that gives her pause before she volunteers is what we’re actually doing when we make these calls or when we send these text messages. And the answer is on the next.
Caroline Grey: (20:01)
We do four things consistently. You will do them this weekend. You will do them through Election Day, which is of course turn out supporters for the vice president and Senator Harris, recruit volunteers. These top two boxes, I’m happy to tell you about, because I think they’re genuinely innovative. Voter registration is something that typically we’ve done in-person at fold-out tables in farmer’s markets, in parking lots of Walmarts. And it is something that was very much interrupted by the pandemic. We’ve had to scale back our in-person work. And voter registration is something that our texting teams took on because we would not be living up to who Vice President Biden is, who Senator Harris is unless we were doing the work of expanding the electorate, inviting everyone who could be part of this campaign in by helping them to register to vote and then vote early. Vote-by-mail expansion, more jargon, just means letting folks know the ways that they can vote, sending that information to them by a text or by phone.
Caroline Grey: (21:03)
But that’s it. That’s what we’ll be asking you to do. These are really familiar activities for campaigners. And I’m going to tell you a little bit more about how to actually get it done. So, onwards to taking action. One more slide, please. So, many of you guys have been volunteering with us for awhile, and you know we make phone calls, we send text messages, we meet in Zoom spaces that look a lot like this. But I am here to talk to you guys today about the closing argument for our voter contact program, which is relational organizing. Next, please. You’ll see on this picture that it helps if you have a pen and paper. So I really encourage you guys to grab a post-it or whatever is handy because we’re going to do this exercise together. But first, it’ll be helpful if I actually tell you what relational organizing is. Onward. You might recognize these slides because there’s a lot of noise here at the end of the election. You’re getting text messages from us.
Caroline Grey: (22:03)
You’re getting text messages from partner organizations. And maybe you read the ones from us, but maybe you don’t. We know that there’s a lot of noise. Next, please. We also know that we can break through. And the person that can reliably break through are people that you cannot unsubscribe from. They’re your mom and they’re your former roommates. They’re your best friends whose text you will read at a moment’s notice. And our theory of the case, in the next slide, is that we will combine direct voter contact and relational voter contact with the organizing that is happening in our states. Oh, sorry. I skipped one more. Our Vote Joe app is going to help you organize people that you know. There we go. Theory of the case. And our theory is that we will combine organizing the people that you know with the direct voter contact that is happening in our battlegrounds.
Caroline Grey: (22:59)
They’ll hear from their friends, they’ll hear from our organizers and volunteers, and it will push them to actually take action. That’s it. And that’s what we’re going to thread the needle on today. So, hopefully you have your pen and paper handy. And onto the next. And we’re actually going to make a list. I swear, bear with me. You can make a list of friends, you can make a list of family members, but I think the two examples are pretty helpful. For me, these are the girls whose weddings I missed this summer, the people that I sent holiday cards to. Just jot those down, five names. That’s all it takes. I’ll give you a second.
Caroline Grey: (23:40)
Okay. And onwards to the next. In order to relation organize, the thing that you’re going to do is you are going to write down how you are actually going to communicate with those people. Do you text them? Do you FaceTime them? Do you film them? For me, I’m a universal texter. I have one book club group that exists in WhatsApp. But every single name that I’ve written down, I’m going to put text next to them. This is the nuts and bolts of relational organizing. And there’s one last part, which is reporting your conversations. And that takes place through the app. Couldn’t be simpler. Reporting is incredibly easy. You hit that take action button. And then you look up who you spoke to. You can either sync your phone contacts or you can type in their name. Remember, use their real name. So if your mom’s in your phone as mommy, you’ve got to type out her full name. You’ll search the voter file, they’ll pop up and you will data enter the conversation that you actually had.
Caroline Grey: (24:40)
So, the conversations that you’re going to have are really familiar. You’re going to want to make sure that you ask them if they’re supporting Vice President Biden and Senator Harris. You’re going to want to ask them if they’ve made a plan to vote. And you’re going to want to ask them to volunteer. And then you’ll hit that big blue button, send to the campaign. That’s it. For you guys who are former organizers, you know that your data does not exist if it’s not in van. So as you write out your list of names, as you figure out how you’re going to contact them, make sure that once you’ve done that and you’ve sent your messages, you come back to the app and report your conversations. One last note on this, we only use the information that you choose to send to us, so nothing else that isn’t on that little take action screen.
Caroline Grey: (25:21)
All right, I’m going to show you the script. So we won’t stay on the phone for this together, but you can take a screenshot of this in case it’s helpful. All you’re going to do is you’re going to text the five people that you’ve written down on that piece of paper. My suggested script is up there, but you can text organically. I think it’s pretty profound to say to people, “There are only 12 days left.” 2020 victory.io/tv is our link to volunteer. And we need them in the action. You should ask them if they’re supporting Vice President Biden and Senator Harris, and you should ask them if they’ve made a plan to vote. And that’s it. Use any words that speak to you. Speak from the heart. Do it in your language. That is friend-making. That is how you organize the people that you know. One more on this.
Caroline Grey: (26:09)
Our takeaways is that friend-making is easy. It’s the most old-school form of organizing. It happens practically off book. You make a list. You come up with what you’re going to say to those people. You contact them, whether by text, by phone, by WhatsApp. And then you report your data in Vote Joe. Onto the next. You might’ve seen this speech already, but our forever first lady, Michelle Obama, made her closing argument for the campaign about a week ago. And relational organizing is the closing argument that I am asking you to make. You can organize the people that you know, onto the next slide, by using the Vote Joe app to confirm that they have taken action for this incredible ticket.
Caroline Grey: (26:53)
We’ve talked so much about agency and authority that we have in our lives. And I hope that you guys feel empowered to do this. If I could leave you with one message, it’s that I believe that you can do this work. If you need help, find me on Twitter. But I really hope you’re able to ask these folks that are in your networks to turn out and vote early for Vice President Biden and Senator Harris. Can’t say thank you enough. Really appreciate everything you’ve done to get us here. And have a great day.