When Texas Democrats walked out on a sham vote on voting rights over the Memorial Day weekend, they issued a challenge to their federal counterparts. As reported by The Washington Post, progressive Texas legislators see a national response as necessary in order to combat current attacks at the state level.
Responding to the call to action, President Joe Biden announced Vice President Kamala Harris would take on the voting rights fight. Biden has previously stated Harris will focus on the urgent needs of the moment in her role as vice president.
The current attack on voting rights is indeed urgent. Since the beginning of the year, Republican-controlled legislatures have introduced hundreds of bills that would undermine access to the ballot. Often tied to previously disproven claims of voter fraud, these laws are a continuation of Trump’s big lie.
Back in April, several members of the Congressional Black Caucus called for voting rights to be elevated to a Congressional priority. Earlier this week, over 100 experts on democracy released a statement warning of the deterioration of free and fair elections in several statements.
“We have watched with deep concern as Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election,” reads the statement.
Harris indicated that part of her role would be working with Congress to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. But voting rights are not the first issue Harris has been asked to lead since January.
Only five months into the current administration, Harris has been tasked with several priorities. In late March, the administration announced Harris would be leading diplomatic efforts at the southern border. While there has been some confusion about the exact purpose of her role, her team has clarified that she is focusing on root causes that drive migrants to the U.S. southern border.
Harris also leads the National Space Council, focusing on climate change and workforce diversity. Part of the role also includes working with allies for peaceful exploration and cybersecurity in space systems.
Even where she is not designated lead, Harris has advocated for the inclusion of policies important to American families and communities. The Los Angeles Times reported that Harris is credited with aspects of Biden’s infrastructure plan providing for expanded Broadband coverage and replacing lead pipes. Harris has also been included in Biden’s effort to restore trust with world leaders, leading several calls of her own.
An outspoken advocate on Black women’s health, Harris led a White House discussion during Black Maternal Health Week. She has also spoken out about jobs, including advocating for caregivers, of whom many are women who have been pushed out of the workforce due to the pandemic.
With an expressed commitment to equity across all aspects of the government, the Biden Administration’s large-scale agenda has thrust several Black and other women of color into leading roles. As reported by the 19th, Harris is joined by several Black women in administration positions with a clear mandate to undo generational inequality.
A reflection of the country they represent, Harris, along with other Black women leaders within the Biden Administration, leverage their platforms to elevate issues impacting Black and other communities of color that past administrations have overlooked.