|‘We’re not going back’ Kamala Harris tells Durham|
|Published Tuesday, August 27, 2019|
DURHAM – Despite President Donald Trump’s efforts to “Make America Great Again,” presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris said, “We’re not going back.”
Campaigning in the Durham area over the weekend, Harris was the keynote speaker for the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People’s 84th Founders’ Day Banquet. On Sunday, Harris attended St. Joseph AME Church in Durham in celebration of Social Justice Sunday.
Speaking Saturday, Harris said this is a moment in time in which people must ask themselves, “Who are we?” She said part of the answer is, “We are better than this.”
“So, this then becomes a moment that requires us to fight for the best of who we are. And, fight we will,” she continued, adding: “This fight is not new for us. We know how to fight. In fact, there is nothing we have gained that came without a fight.”
Discussing “identity politics,” Harris said it is a 21st century term for “the race card,” which is meant to marginalize the subject and shut people up. “When we talk about how our country is and where we are on civil rights issues, it is not about identity politics in the way that they try to phrase it. Where America stands on core issues of civil rights is about America’s identity,” she said.
Harris said people must have conversations based on truth and fact, and recognize where the country is today and what it has yet to accomplish. America’s identity is a matter of economic insecurity and the racial wealth gap; access to health care whether people have money or not; and equal educational opportunities for all, she said. Taking on the racial wealth gap, Harris said if elected president, she would invest $100 billion to help black families in historically redlined communities or federally subsidized housing, and she would invest $12 billion in federal grants for black entrepreneurs and support Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Harris said the country needs leaders at every level to fight for progress and to fight to lift people up. Although she did not call Trump by name, she said: “We’ve got a man in the White House who got elected on a slogan that was about ‘Make America Great Again,, which caused a lot of us to ask again exactly for whom. And, for most of us, the slogan made it very clear he was talking about going back to something.”
Back to what, Harris asked. “Back before the Voting Rights Act, back before the Civil Rights Act, back before the Fair Housing Act, back before the federal minimum wage, back before Roe v Wade? ‘Cause we’re not going back. We’re not going back,” she said.
America must turn the page and write the next chapter based on the noble ideals upon which this nation was founded, she continued. “This is a fight that is not only for the soul of our country, this is a fight that is born out of love for country. And, this is a fight we’re going to win,” she said.
The honorees of this year’s banquet were Superior Court Judge Elaine O’Neal and William “Bill” Bell, Durham’s longest serving mayor.
O’Neal made history in 2002 when she became the first African American and first woman to serve as a chief District Court judge for Durham County. She made history again in 2010 when she became the first woman to serve as a Superior Court judge for the 14th Judicial District. Retiring from the judicial system in 2018, O’Neal is the interim dean of North Carolina Central University’s School of Law.
Citing the names of four young black males she lost on her caseload, O’Neal vowed to continue to help black youth succeed. “We’re here to stay, too much innocent blood shed in this land, this land of the free, the home of the brave; we belong here, and I stand prepared to make sure that each and every one of us will fulfill the American dream,” she said.
Entering politics 47 years ago, Bell was elected a Durham County commissioner in 1972. During his tenure, he was instrumental in the merger of Durham County and Durham city schools into one school system. Bell was mayor from 2001-17.
DCAPB Chairman Omar Beasley thanked Bell for making Durham what it is today. “As long as I’ve been an adult here in Durham, Mayor Bell has been a fixture of this city and this county,” Beasley said. “I appreciate who you are. I appreciate what you’ve done and brought to this city. Downtown is booming right now because of you.”
This youth honorees were Aissa Dearing and Jorren Biggs. Dearing, a senior at J.D. Clement Early College High School located on NCCU’s campus, plans to major in history and environmental science at Howard University next fall. Biggs attends the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he plans to pursue a double major in political science and African American studies. The scholarship recipients were Kollin Brown, a Morehouse College freshman studying computer science and business, and Lelah Cox, who plans to major in English or journalism at UNC-Greensboro next fall.
|Wonderful article, written by a wonderful person.|
|Posted on August 29, 2019|
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