Kamala Harris on Civil Rights

Democratic candidate for President (withdrawn); California Senator


Trump's 50 Court of Appeals appointments: no Blacks

I've witnessed the appointments for lifetime appointments to the federal courts, district courts, courts of appeal, people who are purely ideological. And do you know that of the 50 people who President Trump appointed to the court of appeals for lifetime appointments, not one is black? This is what they've been doing. You want to talk about packing a court? Let's have that discussion.
Source: 2020 Vice-Presidential Debate in Utah , Oct 7, 2020

First female DA in SF; Second black female senator

Joe asked me to serve with him because I have a career that included being elected the first woman District Attorney of San Francisco. I was elected the first woman of color to be elected Attorney General of the state of California. I serve in the United States Senate as only the second black woman ever elected to the United States Senate. I serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee where I've been in regular receipt of classified information about threats to our nation.
Source: 2020 Vice-Presidential Debate in Utah , Oct 7, 2020

Inspired by diverse Americans marching for equal justice

It brings me to the eight minutes and 46 seconds that America witnessed during which a man was tortured and killed under the knee of an armed uniformed police officer. People around our country of every race, of every age, of every gender, perfect strangers to each other, marched shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, fighting for us to finally achieve that ideal of equal justice under law. I was a part of those protests.
Source: 2020 Vice-Presidential Debate in Utah , Oct 7, 2020

Trump declining to condemn white supremacists is a pattern

The President took a debate stage in front of 70 million Americans and refused to condemn white supremacists. Then said, "Stand back, stand by." He called Mexicans rapists and criminals. He instituted a Muslim ban. In Charlottesville, where people were peacefully protesting, and on the other side, there were neo-Nazis. And Donald Trump said, "There were fine people on both sides."
Source: 2020 Vice-Presidential Debate in Utah , Oct 7, 2020

There is no vaccine for racism--we've got to do the work

As Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic Party's vice presidential nomination she argued that "structural racism" had compounded the coronavirus's consequences for communities of color across America. "This virus has no eyes, and yet it knows exactly how we see each other--and how we treat each other," the California senator said. "And let's be clear--there is no vaccine for racism. We've gotta do the work."
Source: Politico.com on 2020 Democratic National Convention , Aug 19, 2020

Challenged Biden's opposition to busing

Ms. Harris confronted Mr. Biden˙about his fond recollections of working with segregationists in the Senate and then opened up about her personal history. Mr. Biden, she said, had opposed school busing mandates to integrate schools in the
Source: New York Times on 2020 Veepstakes , Jul 21, 2020

Dems take black women for granted

Candidates have taken for granted constituencies that have been the backbone of the Democratic Party. When black women are three to four times more likely to die in childbirth, when the sons of black women will die because of gun violence, when black women make 61 cents on the dollar as compared to all women, the question has to be, where you been? And what are you going to do? And do you understand who the people are?

This is a fight for our rule of law, our democracy, and our system of justice. To fight, I believe need someone who can unify the country and who has the experience of having done that. I've done that work. I believe we need someone who has the ability to speak to all people regardless of their race, their gender, their party affiliation, where they live geographically or the language their grandmother speaks. My entire career has been spent having one client and one client only: the people.

Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

I performed same-sex marriages in 2004, AND later ones

Q: You officiated the first same-sex wedding in San Francisco.

HARRIS: It was my joy.

A: How will you leverage your liberal Californian perspective when reaching out to voters in small conservative areas?

HARRIS: I'll tell them the story of Valentine's weekend in 2004. Back when a lot of Democrats were talking about civil unions, in February of 2004, I was performing marriages. I arrived at San Francisco City Hall that day, it was a Saturday, Valentine's weekend, and wrapped around the entire city block were families of every race, of every size, of every age, balloons and teddy bears and gifts, and there was something about arriving there that day that, when you have a group of people that is so large who are so full of pure joy in one place, you can feel it. Because it was a day where people who love each other had the ability for their love to be recognized by law. We must respect and always encourage these kinds of loving relationships.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

End unequal treatment under law by sexual orientation

Q: What protections can you put into place to ensure all Americans have a discrimination-free workplace?

HARRIS: How can we defend that our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are treated differently under the law when they walk into their place of work? I will fight for equality. We saw great success in terms of marriage. But there is still not full equality for members of the LGBTQ community, and that relates to housing, it relates to employment, it relates to education, and many other issues.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

Protect those who are more vulnerable to hate

Q: How will you ensure that all transgender citizens are protected and treated equally?

HARRIS: I will put resources into ensuring that all people are safe, with a particular understanding of some of the most vulnerable communities. We know certain populations are more vulnerable to hate based on other people's prejudice and racism and hateful thoughts. And we as a society must acknowledge the truth of that and then make sure that we create safe communities in which they can exist.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

Must speak the truth about racism & other forms of hate

Racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, these issues are real in our country. We have to speak truth about it. We must point out and never condone anyone who uses their power in a way that fans it. But the reality is that these forms of hate are not new to our country, which have in the history of our country, and still today, take on lethal proportion. The conversation has to be about how we are going to speak truth about the history, and then address it.
Source: Meet the Press interview for Democratic 2020 Veepstakes , Aug 11, 2019

Russian election interference exploited racial divide

One of the almost intangible strengths of America is that we can hold ourselves out as a democracy, imperfect though we may be. So they decide to attack what is the strongest pillar of a democracy, which is free and open elections. And you know what caught heat? The issue of race. So Russia exposed America's Achilles heel. Now it is also a national security issue. And we need to deal with it.
Source: Meet the Press interview for Democratic 2020 Veepstakes , Aug 11, 2019

Biden worked with racist senators to oppose busing

Q: [Biden commented the week prior to the about the loss of Senatorial comity & noted that he worked with Senators he disagreed with, including working with two segregationist Senators on busing. Biden said, "At least there was some civility. We didn't agree on much of anything. We got things done."]

Sen. HARRIS: I'm going to direct this at Vice President Biden, I do not believe you are a racist, and I agree with you [on] to the importance of finding common ground. But it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two senators who built their reputations on segregation. You also worked with them to oppose busing. There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day. That little girl was me. So I will tell you that, on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats. We have to take it seriously.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Federal government protects civil rights when states fail

Sen. Kamala HARRIS: Do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America then [in the 1970s]?

V.P. Joe BIDEN: I did not oppose bussing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education.

HARRIS: There was a failure of states to integrate public schools. I was part of the second class to integrate Berkeley public schools.

BIDEN: Because your city council made that decision.

HARRIS: That's where the federal government must step in. That's why we have the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. That's why we need to pass the Equality Act. That's why we need to pass the ERA, because there are moments in history where states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

We cannot be ignorant of history of race in this country

Q: Biden referred to segregationist senators who might have called someone like him who was younger "son;" they might've called a black man, "boy." [In later debates, Harris took Biden to task for working with those segregationist senators, and on racial issues regarding school busing]. What do you think?

HARRIS: We cannot be ignorant of the history of race in this country. Certainly anyone who is a leader should not be. That is a very loaded term, loaded with a history that includes extreme racism, violence, discrimination, prejudice, you name it. All of that it's a very loaded term. And I think it is very important that we who are leaders, or profess to be leaders, that we choose our words carefully understanding the significance and the power of our word.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview series , Jun 23, 2019

Legalize sex work, but fight trafficking and abuse

When I was DA, I instituted a number of policies that focused on women and children and how they were treated with bias in the criminal justice system without really looking at the real offender: the pimps and the johns. We really need to focus on the other folks and not just on the women. We should not be criminalizing women who are engaged in consensual opportunities for employment. But we should definitely be careful and be sure that they are not being trafficked or abused in any way.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

Women's issues are really about everyone

We need to pass the ERA, the Equal Rights Amendment. Women are paid on average 77 percent to the dollar. And then if you look at African American women and Latinas, even less, for doing the same work. We should reject the conversation that women's issues are just for women to be concerned about, when the reality is that when you lift up the economic status of women, you lift up the economic status of families and communities and all of society.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

Ally of LGBTQ community; must end discrimination

I have been an ally of the LGBTQ community. We must have a country that agrees that no group should be treated without equality under the law. On day one would pass the Equality Act to make sure that we give LGBTQ people equal rights under the law. On the issue of transgender rights, we have a president who wants to kick them out of the military because they are transgender. It is absolutely unconscionable. And that is something I would reverse immediately when I am elected president.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

Supports commission investigating reparations for slavery

At Al Sharpton's National Action Network convention in New York City, most of the 2020 contenders affirmed their support for a bill that would create a commission to study reparations for African-Americans. "When I am elected president, I will sign that bill." Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., told Sharpton.
Source: CNBC: 2019 National Action Network & 2020 Democratic primary , Apr 5, 2019

Reparations raise a public health issue

If we start to examine what have been the outcomes of the history of slavery and legal segregation and discrimination, when people have experienced trauma, and it has been undiagnosed and untreated, you will see certain public health outcomes. And so if you recognize the trauma that existed, and we want to end what are avoidable health outcomes, you need to put resources--and direct resources, extra resources--into those communities that have experienced that trauma."
Source: NPR Morning Edition, "Election 2020: Opening Arguments" , Mar 14, 2019

Reparations means real investments in black communities

Elizabeth Warren said that Native Americans should be "part of the conversation" on reparations for African-Americans. Her fellow 2020 hopefuls Kamala Harris and Julian Castro have come out in favor of reparations for African Americans but have so far not gone as far as Warren in opening the door to reparations for Native Americans.

"We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities," Harris said in the statement. "I'm serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities."

Since reparations are in response to African-Americans impacted by slavery, presumably reparations for Native Americans would be to make amends for crimes and abuses committed on the Native population by the U.S. government over America's history.

Source: Fox News on 2020 Democratic primary hopefuls , Feb 23, 2019

Rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples' Day

Sen. Kamala Harris said that she would push for the federal government to rename Columbus Day "Indigenous Peoples' Day," a focal point for some progressives who say the holiday should emphasize the history of Native Americans instead of the European conqueror. "Sign me up," Harris said in response to a voter's question of whether she would support the initiative to rename the holiday. She spoke of her own efforts in the Senate to make lynching a federal crime.

Harris's competitor, Sen. Cory Booker, was asked the same question in New Hampshire Sunday, but did not commit to renaming the holiday. "I'd like to talk more about why you think it's important on a federal level," Booker told voters. "My commitment to you and indigenous peoples is to tell the truth, to work to address the issues, and to find a way to have real recognition and healing."

Source: Buzzfeed blog on 2020 Democratic primary hopefuls , Feb 18, 2019

Reparations for blacks should include HBCU and reforms

Harris touched on race and mass incarceration, leading to broader discussions of her agenda for African Americans. When asked, the senator said she is in favor of some form of reparations.

"We have got to recognize [that] people aren't starting out on the same base in terms of their ability to succeed," she said. "So we have got to recognize that and give people a lift up."

As she outlined her agenda--highlighting plans for historically black colleges and universities, tax proposals to address poverty and criminal justice reforms--Harris defended President Barack Obama when asked about African Americans who say the former president didn't do enough for the black population.

"None of us can do enough. And we all know that," Harris said. "If you are a parent raising a child, you know we can never do enough. As leaders, we can never do enough. It's important to acknowledge that. But let's also give people credit for what they have accomplished."

Source: Politico.com, "Legalization," on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Feb 11, 2019

Let transgender people access the bathroom of their choice

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 21, 2019

Calling it "identity politics" marginalizes our issues

SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R-PA): Kamala Harris and the Democratic Party have been, for decades, defending divisive politics. The Democratic Party has been divided along race and class.

(VIDEO CLIP from the Netroots convention in New Orleans): SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): I'm aware that some people would say that is playing "identity politics." But I have a problem with that phrase, "identity politics." Its purpose is to minimize and marginalize issues that impact all of us.

SANTORUM: The Democratic Party has been focused on different voter groups, whether it's blacks or Hispanics or whether--you name it, and they have tried to divide this country along those lines, along class, it's been a warfare game for them. Trump is taking them at their own game. I didn't like it on either side. I can understand why they are upset. I don't like it either.

Source: CNN 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Aug 5, 2018

Judicial appointments should reject separate but equal

What we have to lose is a court system that is supposed to be impartial and unbiased. But I'll tell you all, I sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I have been presented with a parade of anti-civil rights nominees who are getting lifetime appointments on our courts. And let's be clear--if you don't agree that Brown v. Board of Education was decided correctly, my perspective is that you've got no business deciding any other case on any other court.
Source: Press release on National Action Network speech , Apr 20, 2018

Fight for equal rights for all

From my first days as a prosecutor in Alameda County, to my work as San Francisco District Attorney, to my current service as California Attorney General, I have worked to bring smart, innovative, and effective approaches to fight crime, fight for consumers, and fight for equal rights for all.

I want to be a voice for Californians on issues that impact our state in the U.S. Senate.

Source: 2016 Senate campaign website, KamalaHarris.org , Apr 1, 2015

Ensure marriage equality for all Californians

She has fought to reduce elementary school truancy in California, preserve the state's natural resources, and ensure marriage equality for all Californians. She has also worked with the technology industry to improve online privacy and safety.
Source: 2016 Senate campaign website, KamalaHarris.org , Apr 1, 2015

Eliminate "gay panic" tactic for criminal defendants

Legislative Counsel's Digest: A "gay panic" or "trans panic" defense allows a criminal defendant to claim that the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity provoked them to violence. This outrageous tactic sends the message that violence against members of the LGBT community is understandable or acceptable. These defense tactics also hurt survivors and loved ones of victims by asking the jury to find that the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity excuses the defendant's actions. AB 2501, the first bill of its kind in the nation, eliminates "gay panic" and "trans panic" as a tactic for criminal defendants, ensuring that attacks on members of the LGBT community can be seen for what they are.

Legislative Outcome: Co-sponsored by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris; 8/26/14: Passed Senate, 25-9-6; 8/27/14: Passed Assembly, 58-15-6; signed by Governor Brown

Source: California legislative voting records for AB 2501 , Aug 27, 2014

Refused to defend Prop. 8 gay marriage ban

There's no love lost between Kamala Harris and Proposition 8. San Francisco's District Attorney, soon to be California's Attorney General, made her position clear this week: when Prop 8 comes to the 9th Circuit court of appeals, her office will not defend the marriage ban. Harris has stated that she believes the law is unconstitutional because it violates the equal-protection clause in the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.
Source: NBC Bay Area: California legislative voting records: Prop. 8 , Dec 2, 2010

Maintain LGBT health info on federal websites.

Harris signed Letter from 19 Senators to President Trump

We write to you to express serious concerns about the removal of critical LGBT health and scientific information from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website, and the removal of LGBT population-based data reports from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) website. These actions reveal a pattern of censorship that fosters discrimination and undermines access to evidence-based health care resources that aid millions across the country.

Administration officials claim that this online information is integrated elsewhere, being updated, or temporarily down for maintenance. We have seen previous Administrations undermine LGBT health due to ideological pressure from conservative organizations by abruptly deleting online health information--similarly under the guise of site maintenance.

You have repeatedly broken your campaign promises to support and protect the LGBT community, and this latest assault on a vulnerable population could further compromise the health of more than ten million LGBT people. We are concerned that you are putting politics ahead of science and access to evidence-based health care that is critical for millions, and so we call on you to reverse course to ensure that our federal programs serve the needs of all people.
Source: Letter from 19 Senators to President Trump 18LTR-LGBT on Apr 12, 2018

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