By Sean Yoes
AFRO Baltimore Editor
Sen. Kamala Harris was not my first choice to be Joe Biden’s VP pick; it was Rep. Valdez “Val” Demmings of Florida.
However, it didn’t take me long to get out of my feelings and get behind the of the very formidable Harris of California.
After all, the alternative is, there is no alternative.
Presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden has chosen Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
The reality is there is a lot to like about Harris, and I’ll get there shortly. However, Harris has her detractors in the Black community of course. There are those who are dubious about her role as a prosecutor in California. If some have discomfort about policies she crafted and implemented in that role, that’s fair. I guess we can continue to debate the substance of her career in the judicial system. But, the bottom line is a big part of her job was to lock people up. And she did her job. People probably need to get over that.
There are others who don’t think Harris is “Black enough,” a tired refrain hurled by some at Barack Obama during his historic political ascension.
“The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a coalition of 34,000 churches representing 27.7 million African Americans, is joining with over 150,000 faith communities across the country who will not support Sen. Kamala Harris, Susan Rice, or any White women for Joe Biden’s VP pick,” reads a press release from NBCI, which is led by the Rev. Anthony Evans. “This is the year for a real Black woman to be chosen to run for the second-highest office in the land…Black women have worked hard for the Democratic party. We are demanding that Biden pick a real Black woman who loves the Black community,” the statement reads.
First, the fact this group feels entitled to determine who is, or isn’t “a real Black woman,” should be alarming at the very least. However, I believe implicit in their critique is the fact that Harris is married to a White-Jewish man. And the truth is some of us in the Black community may have some dis-ease with that fact. I’m no hypocrite; I’m one of those people. However, what neutralizes that dis-ease for me is the fact people have the right to choose who they love regardless of race or gender. And anybody that has a problem with that, they are the ones with the problem. I’m over it; I’m proud of her.
Again, there is a whole lot to like about Harris, the trailblazer.
She was the first woman district attorney of San Francisco.
She was the first woman attorney general of California.
She was the first Indian-American, and second Black woman elected to the U.S. Senate.
She will be the first woman of color named to a major-party national ticket.
She is the first graduate of an Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Howard University, named to a major-party national ticket.
She is the first member of “the Divine Nine” as a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, to be named to a major-party national ticket.
God willing, she will be the first woman and first person of color to ascend to the vice-presidency of the United States.
But, beyond all the firsts, Harris is smart, she is tough, she is charismatic and incredibly personable. Maybe most importantly she is a fighter. As a prosecutor she proved she can fight in the street. And she damn sure can fight in the chambers of the United States Senate. She exhibited her prowess there when she dismantled Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in September 2018, and when she eviscerated Attorney General Bill Barr during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings in May 2019.
Anybody that cares about America knows this country and its people are traveling along the most perilous path we’ve witnessed in more than 50 years, led by a man who is not equipped to lead anything.
Anybody that cares about the future of America and the plight of its people will pray that Kamala Harris will be victorious at the end of her historic journey and become the next Vice President of the United States.
Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore editor and the author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.