Kamala Harris

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    “As the only black person on stage,” said Senator Kamala Harris, innocently introducing what would become the biggest take-down of the first 2020 democratic presidential candidate debate, “I would like to speak on the issue of race.”

    Specifically calling out Vice President Joe Biden, Harris zeroed in on the Democratic frontrunner’s troubled relationship with race both in his current campaign and long history working in Congress. In a presidential race that is bound to be centered on which candidate can triumph in debate, standing up to Trump and squashing his petty bullying, last night Harris did the job right.

    Earlier this month, Biden came under firefor naming former senators James O. Eastland and Herman Talmadge, notoriously racist Democrats and rivals of desegregation, in a speech celebrating civility within Congress. Using a misguided, anecdotal attempt to illustrate that camaraderie once reigned supreme over ideological difference, Biden recalled: “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland. He never called me 'boy,' he always called me 'son.’”

    Called upon to apologize for his comments by presidential candidate Cory Booker—because, shocker, maybe getting along with racists isn’t the united ideal we should aim for?—Biden responded by saying: “Apologize for what? There’s not a racist bone in my body.”

    “It is personal,” Harris said at the debate. “It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.”

    “And it was not only that,” she continued, “but you also worked with them to oppose bussing. And you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.”

    Even though Brown v. Board of Education necessitated the desegregation of schools all the way back in 1954, Biden strongly opposed efforts to desegregate schools through bussing—driving white children to majority black schools and vice versa. According to TIME magazine, Biden supported anti-bussing bills in 1975 and 1977, even introducing legislation himself in 1976 to stop the federal government from using bussing as a means of desegregation.  

    Senator Harris asked Vice President Biden last night, “Do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose bussing in America then?”

    “No,” he said, “I did not oppose bussing in America. What I opposed is bussing ordered by the department of education. That’s what I opposed.”

    Joe Biden's history is a mixed bag with a lot of good and a lot of not so good. And while it might not be fair to hold decisions forty years out of date against him, Biden is showing time and time again that old beliefs die hard. After all, it was only after massive backlash earlier this month that he criticized the Hyde amendment after standing behind it for the entirety of his political career. He still refuses to acknowledge his own role in perpetuating segregation. And last night, Biden seemed so unsure of what positions to support or oppose that him glancing around at other candidates in "show of hands" questions, while dithering over whether or not to raise his own, has become a meme.

    Answering for his past with pandering positions on issues and weak denials of historical fact won't work. Last night Senator Harris masterfully took down one man who refuses to apologize for his actions, and I can’t wait to see her beat the next.

    Top photo screenshot via NBC New York 

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    Tonight, Trump will be giving his State of the Union address to members of Congress, and it’s bound to leave us with tons to talk about. Whether you have the emotional energy to sit through the speech, or you’ll just be reading the major points afterwards, one thing you should educate yourself on is the lineup of awesome women who will attend as guests of leaders like Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Kamala Harris. Some of these guests are better known than others, but all of them are using their voices to change their communities—and the world. 

    1. Ana María Archila

    Ocasio-Cortez’s guest is the New York activist known best for confronting Jeff Flake in an elevator after the senator stated he would support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. “He needed to understand that women feel incredibly enraged about the thought of our stories, and of our experiences of surviving sexual violence being dismissed, laughed at, disbelieved, and I think I just felt a great sense of urgency, and I think I saw in his face that he could not escape the emotion,” Archila told Anderson Cooper after the event.

    “Her act of bravery elevated the stories of survivors across the country and had a profound impact, changing the vote’s proceedings and our national conversation around believing survivors,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Instagram.

    2. Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik

    Kamala Harris announced several days ago on her website that her State of the Union guest will be an air traffic control specialist who lost her home in a California wildfire in 2017. “Since the tragic loss of their home, Trisha, [her husband], and their three children have worked diligently to bounce back and reestablish a sense of normalcy in their lives, even amidst an unnecessary government shutdown,” Harris wrote in her statement. (Pesiri-Dybvik’s husband, she explained, worked without pay for over a month through the recent government shutdown.)

    “I am grateful to Senator Harris for inviting me to be her guest to the State of the Union this year and humbled to be the face of my fellow Californians who have been affected by the government shutdown and recent wildfires,” Pesiri-Dybvik said, also according to Harris’ website.

    3. Consuela Barber-Lopez

    Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib shared on Twitter that she’ll be bringing a local organizer, Consuela Barber-Lopez, with her to the address. “From environmental and economic justice to stopping the deportation of our neighbors, Consuela is a driving force,” Tlaib said.   

    4. Nicole Smith-Holt

    Senator Amy Klobuchar will bring a Minnesota mother who lost her son in 2017; he had type 1 diabetes and died after not being able to afford insulin. Smith-Holt has since been advocating for affordable insulin for those living with type 1 diabetes. In a tweet, Smith-Holt wrote, “I am honored to attend the 2019 SOTU as Senator Klobuchar’s guest. Senator Klobuchar has been a supporter of #Insulin4All and is working hard to pass laws that lower insulin prices in the US to protect all T1Ds.”

    5. Estefany Pineda

    Rep. Ayanna Pressley will bring University of Massachusetts student and DACA recipient Estefany who, according to Senator Ed Markey on Twitter, came to the U.S. at nine years old to escape violence in El Salvador, and is currently studying International Relations and Public Policy.

    “Estefany, I am so honored to have you join me as my guest today. Your advocacy on behalf of your community and on behalf of Dreamers, TPS and Asylum seekers everywhere inspires us,” Pressley shared on Twitter.

    Top photo: Ana María Archila and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, via YouTube / popdemoc

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    Let’s play a game. Without thinking too hard, what are the first (non-policy) things that come to mind when you think of Hillary Clinton? You might think of the media's obsession with her emails, Bill Clinton, or when she unironically told Millennial and Gen-Z voters to “Pokemon-Go to the polls.” However, what likely comes to mind are her signature pantsuits. Fashion choices have long been used to disqualify or delegitimize powerful women, and, undoubtedly, Clinton’s pantsuits were used as a tool of communication to the American people. In her book, What Happened, she explains, “I also thought it would be good to do what male politicians do and wear more or less the same thing every day.” Since Kamala Harris’s Vice Presidential nomination, people have been noticing something unique about her uniform. Straying from what male or female politicians have worn in the past, Harris has been sporting Converse sneakers.

    Although the Vice President nominee has been seen in Converse throughout her own presidential run, by Tuesday, two videos of Harris’s arrival in Milwaukee had been viewed almost 8 million times on Twitter. Soon after, the internet exploded with comments and posts about the nominee’s Chuck Taylors.

    It feels redundant at times to speak about what lawmakers are wearing, but how we dress, whether we hold public office or not, sends a message. Politicians from Louis XIV to George Bush have used visual cues to tell us about themselves. Harris is the first woman of color to be on a major party’s presidential ticket, and the first American politician to subscribe to sneakers on the campaign trail. Converse are an inoffensive, unisex, classic American shoe. These shoes symbolize the idea of “big tent politics” by being something people from all walks of life recognize and likely owned at some point.

    “Until the 1990s, an 'unwritten rule' dictated that women could not wear pants on the Senate floor. That changed in 1993, after Moseley Braun, unaware of the rule, wore ‘a very nice Armani pantsuit’ to work,” Vox reported. Through this lens, Harris’s choice is significant, and in a way, a sign of a changing society, but it also leans into her “practicality.”

    After running a campaign situated closer to the center than other candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the shoe fits. Converse are not revolutionary; rather, familiar and practical. The Washington Post reported, “At a time when many in the Democratic Party are calling for a different kind of leader... Harris’s shoes resonated with those who saw something more familiar in low-rise Chucks than the usual polished wingtips.”

    Last week, Elizabeth Semmelhack, the author of Sneaker X Culture: Collab, told The Guardian, “The sneakers are acting as the sartorial equivalent of being willing to roll up her sleeves.” But perhaps it’s more subtle than trying to prove a point about hard work. It’s a hand reached out, not grabbing or pleading, but for a shake. They seem to say: “I’m like you.”

    Top Image: Flickr/ Davey D Cook

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    Trump Is Back On His Birtherism Bullshit And Kamala Harris Is His Latest Target

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    Donald Trump gained notoriety for falsely claiming that President Barack Obama, who was born in Hawaii, was not a U.S. citizen and was lying about his birthplace. This statement was the genesis of the “birtherism” movement where people suspected Obama was lying about his nationality and demanded to see his birth certificate. Many people falsely claimed that Barack Obama was a Muslim. And despite there being nothing wrong with being a Muslim, it was a bald-faced lie, a movement rooted in racism and xenophobia. Even after President Obama showed his birth certificate, many people, including Trump, erroneously suggested that the birth certificate was somehow fake and continued with this conspiracy theory.

    Donald Trump is now back at it again, but this time, it’s with Kamala Harris, someone who was unequivocally born in California. In a “news conference,” Trump said that he heard that Harris “doesn’t meet the requirements” to serve as President or Vice President. It’s just another way of Trump trying to use racist rhetoric in order to tear down Black people. It should come as no surprise that this was Trump’s plan of action, because it’s almost exactly what he did to President Obama.

    Accusing someone of being from a different country just because their parents are immigrants — Barack Obama’s father was from Kenya, and Kamala Harris’ parents are from Jamaica and India — is 100% unacceptable and racist. To be clear, Kamala Harris is eligible to be Vice President and President of the United States. She was born in Oakland, California, making her a natural-born citizen, which meets the requirements to serve as either role. To suggest otherwise is to push a false narrative, something that Donald Trump has been doing ever since he entered the political sphere.

    While Trump didn’t outright say that Kamala Harris wasn’t born in the United States and he didn’t come to a definite conclusion in his so-called news conference, it was largely implied that he believed that she was ineligible. He said, “I just heard about it, I’ll take a look.” This isn’t a new strategy: when Trump was trying to discredit President Obama, he also used the same exact rhetoric of just asking questions and "wondering," but what it really did was spark a conspiracy theory, and that’s exactly what he did once again.

    There is nothing to look into because the requirements to be a Vice President or President are being a natural-born U.S. citizen, being at least 35 years old, and being a U.S. resident for at least 14 years. Kamala Harris meets these requirements, full stop. The birtherism movement during President Obama’s years in office was disgusting and racist, and it looks like history is repeating itself.

    Trump resorting to this kind of attack (a.k.a., something not at all based in reality) is a sign that he’s nervous. He’s grasping at straws, hoping that the American people won’t see through it. But we do, and we’ll show him we do when we vote him out in November.

    Header photo via Flickr Creative Commons / Gage Skidmore

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    A week after the election results were called, we are still celebrating Kamala Harris’ victory as the first woman in American history to hold office as Vice President. And we’re definitely not alone in our excitement!

    Here’s how some of our favorite celebs have been honoring this great win:

    Chrissy Teigen

    Chrissy Teigen and John Legend jamming out to YG's hit single, "FDT."

    Tiffany Haddish

    Tiffany Haddish dancing in front of her window is an entire mood. 

    Jennifer Lopez

    J. Lo says, "echoing the words of everyone that we are headed towards a better day, a more united country."

    Beyoncé

    Queen B's post of young Kamala. 

    Lizzo

    In an emotional post, Lizzo reminds her fans that "this is not the end, this is literally the beginning." 

    Megan Thee Stallion

    Megan Thee Stallion honored the "first Black female Vice President ever in history"  on Twitter.

    Lady Gaga

    Gaga thanks all of the voters, paying special tribute to Stacey Abrams for all of her work in Georgia, saying, "you're such an inspiration to so many people."

     

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