By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Vice President Kamala Harris appeared at the 2022 NAACP convention in Atlantic City in July, declaring that freedom, liberty, and democracy are on the ballot in the upcoming midterm elections.
She implored the large gathering at the Atlantic City Convention Center to make sure that all voices are heard.
“We’re not going to be able to get these days back, so each one of these days we must, with a sense of urgency, ensure that the American people know their voice and their vote matters,” Harris said. “It is their voice. The right to vote is something that the leaders of this organization and its founders knew to be at the core of all of the other rights and freedoms to which we are entitled. So, we know what we need to do. And, in particular, to protect the freedom to vote and a women’s right to make decisions about her own body, we need people who will defend our rights up and down the ballot, from district attorneys to state attorneys general, from local sheriffs to governors.”
The vice president received several standing ovations as she spoke of the need to vote. The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a trade association representing 235 African American-owned newspapers and media companies, has teamed with the Transformative Justice Coalition in an effort to register 10 million more Black voters ahead of the midterm and 2024 general elections.
As Harris arrived in Atlantic City, Mayor Marty Small greeted her as she descended from Air Force Two.
NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson spoke to the vice president and railed against politicians and the U.S. Supreme Court for “the erosion of constitutional freedom, including the right of a woman over her own body.”
Harris also decried the sharp increase in mass shootings and gun violence in the United States.
In early July, the President Joe Biden signed the first federal gun safety law in nearly 30 years.
“It was an important and necessary step,” Harris said. “But we need to do more. We must repeal the liability shield that protects gun manufacturers. And we must renew the assault weapons ban. There is no reason for weapons of war on the streets of America.”
With West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin repeatedly stopping the Biden-Harris administration agenda, Harris called on voters to participate in the U.S. Senate election.
“We will not, and the President has been clear, we will not let the filibuster stand in our way of our most essential rights and freedoms,” Harris said. “Mass shootings have made America a nation in mourning. And it’s not only the mass shootings. We see it in our communities every day, and it is no less tragic or outrageous. Think about it: Black people are 13 percent of America’s population but make up 62 percent of gun homicide victims.”
She continued, “This issue of the need for reasonable gun safety laws is a real issue when we are talking about the civil right, the right that all communities should have, to live in a place that is safe without weapons of war running those streets.”