Kamala Harris officially launched her presidential campaign Sunday in her hometown of Oakland, Calif.
To the cheers of over 20,000 people who waited for hours and underwent security checks, the California senator touched on the themes that she would be using in her campaign, to work towards an America “by the people and for the people.”
“I was born just a few blocks from here,” she said in Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of Oakland City Hall. “I’m so proud to be a daughter of Oakland. My parents met as graduate students at UC Berkeley, where they were active in the civil rights movement.
Stressing her immigrant heritage, she said: “They were born half a world apart from each other. My father, Donald, came from Jamaica to study economics. My mother, Shyamala, came from India to study the science of fighting disease. My parents came here in pursuit of more than just knowledge. Like so many others, they came in pursuit of a dream — for themselves, for me, and for my sister Maya.”
“We were raised by a community with a deep belief in the promise of our country — and a deep understanding of the parts of that promise that still remain unfulfilled,” she continued. “We were taught to see a world beyond just ourselves. To be conscious and compassionate about the struggles of all people. We were raised to believe public service is noble and the fight for justice is everyone’s responsibility. That, in many ways, formed my life.”
The audience of all races, ages and genders, repeatedly interrupted her speech with cheers of “Ka-ma-la, Ka-ma-la.”
Her platform includes a pledge for Medicare for all. “Health care is a fundamental right,” she said.
“Education is a fundamental right,” she continued.
She attacked Trump’s plan for a wall on the Mexican border. “Folks, on the subject of transnational gangs, let’s be perfectly clear: The president’s medieval vanity project is not going to stop them,”
Dreamers, she said, referring to the young people brought to this country illegally as young children, should have a path to citizenship.
“When we have children in cages, crying for their mothers and fathers, don’t you dare call that border security,” she added later. “That’s a human rights abuse.”
“We were raised by a community with a deep belief in the promise of our country — and a deep understanding of the parts of that promise that still remain unfulfilled. We were taught to see a world beyond just ourselves. To be conscious and compassionate about the struggles of ALL people. We were raised to believe public service is noble and the fight for justice is everyone’s responsibility. That, in many ways, formed my life.”
Harris said she was running for president “to fight for an America where no mother or father will have to teach their young son that someone will stop him or kill him because of his race.”
“Even though we have powerful forces trying to sow hate and division, the truth is that, as Americans, we have much more in common than what separates us,” according to her prepared remarks.
If elected, Harris would become the first Asian American president and the first woman president.
After the rally, she was supposed to travel to Iowa, the state that holds it’s caucuses a little more than a year from now.
Her campaign headquarters will be in Baltimore, Maryland,where, like Oakland, there is a large African American community.
Lauren Zabel, who works in tech, told a reporter: “Kamala is an intersectional candidate. She has an Indian mother and a Black father. Her husband is Jewish. She’s a stepmother. I think a lot of people can relate to that.”
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