Harris, interviewed by The 19th’s Errin Haines along with actor DeWanda Wise, emphasized abortion rights and democracy in her pre-election pitch to young voters of color.
This story was originally published by The 19th
By Grace Panetta, The 19th
Vice President Kamala Harris warned that issues of “heart and home” are under attack in America in a BET special conversation on reproductive rights moderated by The 19th’s editor-at-large, Errin Haines, at Howard University ahead of the midterms.
Harris spoke at Howard, her alma mater, along with actor DeWanda Wise for BET’s program “State of The Union: Reproductive Rights,” which is airing in full on the network Monday at 9 p.m. ET.
Harris emphasized attacks on abortion access, broader privacy rights and efforts to undermine democracy in her pre-election pitch to the students and young voters of color in the audience, according to clips obtained ahead of time by The 19th.
“Understand again that when we’re talking about these kinds of attacks on the right to privacy, it comes from a belief that an individual should be able to decide certain things for themselves,” she said. “I think of these issues as the issues that relate to heart and home, that government should not be making these decisions for you.”
Harris has eagerly embraced a role as the face of the Biden administration’s messaging and efforts on abortion access. She’s held nearly three dozen official events on abortion and reproductive rights since May, when a draft of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade first leaked, including ones featuring Democratic elected officials and candidates.
In the final days leading up to the midterms, Harris has stumped for Democratic candidates running in Massachusetts, New York and Illinois. She will be spending Monday, the final day before the midterms, rallying Democrats in her home state of California.
Harris also decried legislation passed by some Republican state legislatures to tighten voting and election rules, like a relatively new provision in Georgia that prohibits political campaigns and groups from offering food or water to voters within a certain distance of a polling place.
“My theory of the case is this: In 2020, people turned out in record numbers, as some of us have discussed, in the middle of a pandemic, turned out in record numbers to vote,” Harris said. “Young voters, a historic number turned out to vote, and basically said what they wanted from their country and their future. I think that scared some people. So they started passing these laws making it more difficult.”
Wise, for her part, reminded the students that the most powerful and meaningful movements in America have been powered by young people.
“We’ve only ever seen photos of Harriet Tubman when she was kind of done. But she was 27, and she did it without the Internet,” she said.
“As much as they speak about what’s in our DNA and there’s trauma in our DNA, there’s also a lot of fight, and resiliency and stamina in our DNA,” Wise added.
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