Widespread praise was being heaped on Joe Biden for making the historic selection of Kamala Harris to be his vice-presidential running mate. In addition to staying true to his vow of picking a woman, the fact that Harris is also a Black woman was not lost among the reactions to Biden’s choice.
The presumptive Democratic nominee made his announcement Tuesday afternoon.
“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” he tweeted.
Biden didn’t mention that his decision made Harris the first Black woman to run for vice president for any political party, let alone the two major ones. But that historical truth was not lost on the myriad groups and prominent individuals who’ve been reacting favorably to Biden’s decision as well and offering their support and congratulations to Harris.
The Black Voters Matter Fund said simply that Biden “got it right” and noted what a meaningful moment Tuesday was for both Harris and all Black women.
“Let’s all take a minute to acknowledge the significance of this moment. This victory was shaped not just by this individual, but also by the hundreds and thousands of nameless Black women on whose shoulders she stands,” LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, said. “Even in recent weeks, Black women have been organizing and lifting their voices to hold Biden accountable for being on the right side of history.
Likewise, a group of Black women leaders congratulated Biden and Harris in a statement e-mailed to NewsOne that also gave shout outs to all the women who paved the way for Tuesday’s announcement to be made, including Sojourner Truth, Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan. It vowed to support the ticket on behalf of Black women voters.
“We pledge to our Democratic Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominees, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris that we have your back,” the group said in part. “As the most loyal voters in the Democratic Party we will bring everything we have to igniting and mobilizing Black voters across all demographics to show up in record numbers because the road to the White House will again be powered by Black women.”
Color of Change suggested that Biden choosing Harris was a great start but cautioned that there was still work to be done to attract more Black voters.
“We are confident in [Harris’] ability to support Biden’s journey to the White House, but remain vigilant in holding Biden and his entire cabinet accountable to the needs of Black voters,” Rashad Robinson, Spokesperson for Color Of Change PAC, said in part of a statement e-mailed to NewsOne. “In this time of unprecedented crisis, as civil rights are challenged and Black people are hit hard on every front, it is imperative that Biden and Harris maintain a level of awareness of the many challenges facing Black voters.”
One racial justice group offered similar sentiments and cited “Harris’ record of failing to investigate cases of police brutality and hold involved officers accountable has not been forgotten by communities of color” in calling for a Biden administration to show that Black lives matter to it.
“While we can acknowledge the historic nature of a Black woman being nominated Vice-President to the Democratic Party ticket, we know that the policy put forth by these candidates is what is most important,” Maurice BP-Weeks, Co-Executive Director of the Action Center on Race and the Economy, said in part. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will need to demonstrate that Black and Brown communities are a priority — and that they need our votes to win.
Former President Barack Obama, for whom Biden served as vice president for two terms, made a veiled reference to Harris’ Blackness while congratulating the two of them. He said in part that Biden “nailed this decision” and noted that choosing shows “there’s a place for you here” no matter “what you look like.”
She The People, a group that urged Biden to pick a Black woman, applauded his decision.
“This is one step in a much larger fight for representation towards the multi-racial Democracy women of color have dreamed of, fought for and bled for, for generations,” the group said in part of a brief statement e-mailed to NewsOne. “We need Black, Latina, Indigenous, and Asian American women leading at every level of American politics.”
Political group Democracy For America said the selection of Harris has vast cultural/political implications beyond just the government’s executive branch.
“Vice President Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris gives Democrats an historic opportunity to defeat Donald Trump, break through a glass ceiling for Black women, and win majorities in both the House and the Senate that can deliver the bold progressive reforms we need to restore America,” Democracy For America said in an e-mailed statement.
Emerge, a nonprofit group working to increase the number of women elected to public office, said Biden’s choice of Harris is an indication of what his administration’s priorities would be.
“This is a historic choice that shows how serious Vice President Biden and his administration will be in having women and Black, brown and Indigenous people in important decision-making roles,” A’shanti F. Gholar, President of Emerge, said in a brief e-mailed statement that also urged Biden to hold true to his promise of having a multicultural cabinet. “Senator Harris has been a longtime supporter of Emerge. Her story of rising from city district attorney to California Attorney General to U.S. Senator and now potentially being the next Vice President of the United States, is the story of Emerge. She is a role model for every woman who seeks to serve and make a change in her community.”
People For the American Way, which describes itself as “a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all,” said Biden choosing Harris increased his already fairly good chances of beating Donald Trump on Election Day.
“A strong Democratic ticket is absolutely essential, and we are thrilled to offer our support to Harris, the first Black woman, the first person of Indian descent, and only the fourth woman in history to be nominated as Vice President by a major political party,” People For the American Way President Ben Jealous said in a statement sent to NewsOne. “Together, Biden and Harris offer the bold leadership we need to beat Trump on Election Day, and People For the American Way is committed to doing everything in our power to help them achieve victory.”
Biden made his announcement less than a week before the Democratic National Convention begins Monday.
The week-long event has already locked down some high profile nightly keynote speeches, including Michelle Obama on Monday, Jill Biden on Tuesday, Barack Obama on Wednesday, and Joe Biden‘s nominee acceptance speech on Thursday. The convention was originally planned for Milwaukee but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event had to be planned remotely.
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