VP Kamala Harris and Sec. Yellen sat down for their moderated “fireside chat” at 12:01, a conversation led by Janis Bowdler, the racial equity counselor at Treasury.

Asked how she got into her work on economic justice, the VP said: “In many ways, I was born into it,” mentioning her parents’ advocacy, Thurgood Marshall and MLK Jr.

VP Harris said she started tracking the foreclosure crisis and how it impacted families of color when she was attorney general of California. 

The VP said the Biden-Harris administration has focused on investing in America’s workers, investing in people, investing in families for the greatest “return on investment.” She mentioned the maternal health summit last week and the child tax credit. 

Sec. Yellen said it’s been a conscious goal of Treasury to make sure money intended for certain communities is being spent there. 

VP Kamala Harris got light applause when she said that some of the financial programs they’re discussing were not built to benefit certain people. “It’s about restructuring,” she said. 

The VP talked about the importance of trust in institutions among underserved communities and the importance of “self-determination.”

She mentioned voting rights as a connected issue, an “ongoing blatant challenge” to democracy.

“Our democracy is being threatened,” she said adding here is a natural progression from voting rights to the issue of economic justice.

The event ended at 12:29 and the VP with her mask on began chatting with attendees and shaking hands as a small crowd formed around the stage where she was.

She took a photo with Rev. Al Sharpton and spoke with a few others before she left the room at 12:35.

VP Kamala Harris did not answer a shouted question about whether she is concerned about the impact of inflation on communities of color. 

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