During CBC Week, California Senator Kamala Harris, who is now being talked about as a possible future candidate for President, delivered remarks and accepted the President’s Award at the Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. 40th Annual Symposium Workshop and Awards Lunch on September 22.
Members of the Black Women’s Agenda flooded the Marriott Marquis in downtown Washington, DC to see Sen. Harris speak. The hotel is next door to the Washington Convention Center where CBC Week takes place for five days every year.
Founded in 1977, the Black Women’s Agenda seeks to improve the lives of Black women and girls through developing strategies and providing resources to its member organizations. During her remarks, Harris discussed the importance of the Black Women’s Agenda at a time when Black women are more politically and economically engaged than ever before, and enrolling in higher education in numbers higher than any other demographic.
“Sister girls, know that, as we do, lift each other up every day, the words of encouragement, the prayers, just that look when we see each other on the street, know that it means so very much, it means so very much,” Harris started.
There has been a lot of talk about the role of Black women in the Democratic party after Black women voters turned up at the polls at the highest rate of any other voting demographic group in 2008 and 2012.
“When you look at where we are today, we know there have been 10 separate federal court decisions, since 2013, finding intentional violations based on race, as it related to voting rights. When we look at an issue like healthcare, a big part of the black women’s agenda, when we talk about the agenda being to advance the health, safety, and well-being of black women and their families, and there are forces here in Washington DC that for purely political reasons are trying to undo President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and we know that the black women of America have benefitted in untold ways from that smart public policy,” Harris told the large crowd of onlookers.
There has been a great deal of talk about Harris running for President in 2020. She has not indicated one way or the other whether she will run but excitement has built around the idea of a candidacy nonetheless.
Harris reminded the crowd that Black women are 6.6% of the population of the U.S. — roughly 21 million people.
“Politically, black women have the highest turnout rates of any demographic in the national elections in ’08 and ’12. Economically, we are the fastest growing group of our workforce, 1.5 million businesses,” Harris added.
Harris is a graduate of Howard University and the former Attorney General of California.
“The black women’s agenda is America’s agenda. I stand up here and I’m looking at a ballroom full of phenomenal women and then on this dais, people who have role modeled, who have paved the way, who have created the path, often with a machete in hand to create a road for us, each of us, to have opportunities,” Harris ended her remarks saying.
Whether she will throw her hat in the ring and run for President in 2020 is of course not yet known. But many are enthusiastically waiting to find out and offer support.