CHICAGO —VP Kamala Harris arrived at the Rainbow PUSH Convention at the Apostolic Church of God at 1:40 pm.
VP Harris commenced her speech, focusing on the influential legacy and accomplishments of Rev. Jesse Jackson throughout the decades. She lauded his civil rights advocacy within the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and beyond. Highlighting his groundbreaking presidential campaigns in 1984 and 1988, she emphasized their impact in paving the way for President Barack Obama and her own role as Vice President. In light of the current political climate, she underscored the importance of Rev. Jackson’s work amidst the assaults on bodily autonomy, affirmative action, voting rights, and student debt relief by “extremist leaders.”
Drawing from her law school days, VP Harris reminisced about her Toyota Corolla adorned with a “Jesse Jackson for President” bumper sticker, which garnered support from fellow drivers. She also raised concerns about book bans limiting students’ access to comprehensive US history.
“So today, we celebrate one of America’s greatest patriots. Someone who deeply believes in the promise of our country,” expressed Kamala Harris.
“At the core of Rev.’s work is the belief that the diversity of our nation is not a weakness or an afterthought, but instead, our greatest strength,” she exclaimed.
“Early on, he even had the audacity to name this coalition the National Rainbow Coalition.”
Referring to Rev. Jackson, she remarked, “He defined the rainbow. He was one of the first to define the rainbow. A coalition to push the values of democracy and liberty and equality and justice, not from the top down but from the bottom up and the outside in. He has built coalitions that expanded who has a voice and a seat at the table.”
Speaking of extremists agendas, Harris spoke about the attacks on the American freedoms. “Across our country, we are witnessing hard-fought, hard-won freedoms under full-on attack by extremist, so-called leaders. These extremists have an agenda, an agenda to divide us as a nation, an agenda to attack the importance of diversity and equity and inclusion and the unity of the Rainbow Coalition,” she said.
“These extremists banned books in the year of our Lord 2023. They ban books and prevent the teaching of America’s full history. All the while they refuse reasonable gun safety laws to keep our children safe. Understand what’s happening.”
She added, “Fueled by the love of our country, just as Rev. has done his entire career, let us keep hope alive.”
Harris congratulatory tone emphasized that Rev Jackson stepping down is not the end of the road for him. “We congratulate you, Rev., on your pivot,” she acknowledged, alluding to Jackson’s transition not as a retirement but as a pivot.
Concluding at around 3:19 pm after speaking for approximately 20 minutes, her address was met with resounding applause throughout the church.
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