Kamala Harris Reaches Out to Black Voters in Battleground Wisconsin


Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris spent her first day of in-person campaigning in Milwaukee on Monday by appealing to communities of color that will be crucial to her party winning the battleground state in November.

Harris bounded off a plane, sporting her signature Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers and jeans, and immediately met with the family members of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was left paralyzed after being shot by police. She also spoke by phone with Blake during the meeting.

Harris then toured a union training facility, discussed the challenges of running a small business with Black business owners and met with Latino activists who advocate for frontline workers.

Harris, the first Black woman and the first candidate of Indian descent on a major party’s presidential ticket, was selected by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in part because of her appeal to communities of color. The campaign is looking to boost turnout among those voters in crucial swing states like Wisconsin.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the size of Harris’s events was restricted and her interactions with voters were limited. But as she exited the meeting with Black business owners, she was greeted by a crowd of supporters who cheered her on.

Harris, keeping her distance, removed her mask and implored the supporters to vote.

‘I Need Your Help’

“Make sure everybody votes early, right?” Harris said to a cheering crowd. “By September 17, you’re going to get your ballots. October 20, your early voting starts and that’s my birthday. So I need your help.”

Harris’s trip to Wisconsin came just days after Biden traveled to the state to meet with Blake’s family and participate in a community conversation at a church in Kenosha.

Blake was shot seven times by a White police officer in Kenosha, reigniting protests last month against police brutality and systemic racism across the country. Kenosha has been rocked by violence and in late August a 17-year-old shot and killed two protesters.

Both Biden and Harris have sought to strike a contrast with President Donald Trump in responding to the protests and violence.

‘Wonderful’ Meeting

Harris said the meeting with Blake’s family was “really wonderful.”

“They’re an incredible family,” and they have endured what they’ve been through “with such dignity and grace,” she said while visiting the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ training facility. “They’re carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders.

Blake’s attorneys said the meeting and phone call were “inspirational and uplifting.

During his trip, Biden sought to bring unity to a city engulfed by unrest and violence. He spoke in support of the peaceful protests while condemning the violence.

“I promise you, win or lose, I’m going to go down fighting, I’m going to go down fighting for racial equality, equity across the board,” Biden said during the community meeting. “This is something worth losing over but we’re not going to lose.”

Trump also traveled to Kenosha last week to tour damaged properties and condemn the violence, but he did not meet with the Blake family. He declined to speak to Blake’s mother because the family wanted lawyers to take part in the call.

“I was going to speak to the mother yesterday, I hear she’s a very fine woman, I was going to speak to her but then I heard there were a lot of lawyers on the phone,” Trump said on Sept. 1. “I said, ‘I have enough lawyers in my life, I don’t need to get involved with that.’”

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