BERKELEY (CBS SF/AP) – It was a historic moment for the Bay Area and all of America as California Senator Kamala Harris became the first Black woman to accept the Democratic vice-presidential nomination Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention.
Capping her meteoric rise from lawyer, to District Attorney of California, to Senator, Harris took the political baton from Former President Barack Obama, saying, “It is truly an honor, I am here tonight as a testament to generations before me.”
In a voice sometimes strong, other times vulnerable, Sen. Harris talked about growing up in Oakland and Berkeley as the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrant parents. Her parents were activists and in her child’s eye she described the ‘good trouble’ she witnessed in the 60s, as they marched for change in the spirit of the late civil rights leader, John Lewis.
After her parents’ divorce, Harris described her life in West Berkeley, living with her mother and sisters.
“She raised us to be proud strong black women,” said Harris, adding her mom also made her proud of her about her Indian heritage. “I know she’s looking down on us from above.”
“When my mother, was giving birth at Kaiser hospital in Oakland, she probably would have never imagined her daughter would some day say these words, ‘I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States of America.'”
In a preamble to her acceptance speech, a video showed Senator Harris as a sister, an aunt, a daughter a friend and a Black woman born of Jamaican and Indian parentage. Through a chorus of young girls, and women the short montage presented images of Harris on the presidential trail saying she will fight for women — especially those of color.
Harris would go on to reiterate her campaign slogan, ‘For the People,’ and her “vision of our nation as a beloved community — where all are welcome, no matter what we look like, where we come from or who we love. A country where we may not agree on every detail, but we are united by the fundamental belief that every human being is of infinite worth, deserving of compassion, dignity and respect.”
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In his introduction, President Obama, speaking from Philadelphia, gave his strongest rebuke yet of President Trump and endorsed “my friend” Joe Biden, his former vice president.
“For close to four years now, he’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves,” Mr. Obama said. “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job, because he can’t. The consequences of that failure are severe.”
While Mr. Obama stressed what he described as the failures of the Trump presidency, he spent the bulk of his speech giving rousing endorsements of Biden and Harris.
Mr. Obama’s speech and Harris’ historic nomination came after speeches by powerhouse women in the party, including Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren. Actor Kerry Washington hosted the evening.
Clinton also pushed the importance of voting, saying “this can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election.” She said it wasn’t enough just to push Mr. Trump out of office, but also to support the policies of Biden and Harris.
“There’s a lot of heartbreak in America right now — and the truth is, many things were broken before the pandemic,” Clinton said. “Joe Biden knows how to heal, unify, and lead, because he’s done all of that for his family and his country.”