Democratic Presidential candidate Kamala Harris met on a conference call with various editors of HBCU publications recently to address her student journalism advocacy and her personal support of the importance of media in the upcoming election.
Harris, a Howard University graduate, spoke highly over her college university’s student news publication “The Hilltop”, saying, “I have always relied on, admired, and praised the work of our journalists at our HBCUs and so it’s with that recognition of the importance of your work that I wanted to be able to have this call today so thank you for the work you do every day. These are difficult times and your work is important.”
Harris said the two key things that formed her into the woman she is today was her family and her studies at Howard University, an HBCU. Her experiences there taught her that she didn’t have to be “confined to anyone’s box, of how to be a young black person in America, of how to be a student, how to be a young adult, etc.”
Having been raised at home with a mindset of service, Harris said it carried into her experiences at Howard and now inspires her to challenge those who misuse power in the presidential race.
“In the name of the people, I’m prepared to take on a man who has not just abused his power but the power of the presidency, and that’s why I’m running for president,” said Harris. “I strongly believe justice is on the ballot in this election. Justice is on the ballot when the family who owns Walmart earns more in one minute than the average family in America makes in a year. Justice is on the ballot when we lock up more people in prison than any other country in the world. When students and graduates are drowning in debt, and where supposed leaders give big oil companies and their lobbyists free reign to destroy our planet. Justice is on the ballot when we know that black families have one-tenth of the wealth of other families in America and when we look at the history of that, including not only the 400 years of slavery and Jim Crow and legalizing institutional discrimination, and then de-facto discrimination but when we look at the realities of today—still the exclusion to so many paths that are about economic health and well-being.”
Referencing her experience on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Harris said she regularly received updates regarding threats to national security, including the Russian influence on the election.
“Let’s be clear, Russia, long-standing adversary of the United States, decided ‘We’re going to figure out how to bring this down’. They don’t have the economic power to build armies to do that, but what they did is decided to use the equivalent of a cyberattack to attack our democracy,” said Harris.
She went on to explain that Russia is very much aware that wherever the United States enters, there follows power because of our strong democracy.
Harris said she believed Russia set out to dismantle harmony within the United States and thus uncovered “America’s Achilles’ heel”, race.
“Russia noticed that race is the thing that gave most heat. Remember the whole controversy around Kolin Kaepernick? Well that wasn’t really a thing. They applied heat to it, and heat attracts heat and it became this big thing,” said Harris.
She said she believes that the role of black journalists is critical to the continuation of democracy and stopping the distraction from real issues that affect Americans.
“There’s no limit to what we can do. We should never listen to someone telling us it can’t be done because no one like you has ever done it before,” said Harris.