Black Chicago represented in Democratic National Convention
Crusader Staff Report
California Senator Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president, becoming the first Black woman to run on a major party ticket on a historic night where Barack Obama became the latest Chicagoan to light up the Democratic National Convention.
Harris ended the third night of the virtual convention with a speech that drew on her roots as the daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother. She also acknowledged her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters and her alma mater – Howard University, an HBCU. Then she got down to business.
She promised to end injustices in criminal justice and health care systems and law enforcement.
“There is no vaccine for racism,” she said. “We have got to do the work.”
Harris lamented the state of President Trump’s America and promised that a Biden-Harris administration would change the country for the better.
“The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone,” she said. “It’s a lot.”
Black Chicago is playing a big role in the historic Democratic National Convention.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was officially nominated Tuesday night. He was scheduled to officially accept the nomination during a speech Thursday night.
Former First Lady and Chicago native Michelle Obama kicked off a full week of speeches leading up to the Democratic presidential nomination of Biden.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke with Biden on the first night of the convention. Lightfoot explained how she feels racial issues must be addressed at the city level.
“It’s about economic empowerment,” Lightfoot said. “Because if people are lifted out of poverty and they are given an opportunity to feel a stake in their own future, that goes a long way.”
Another Chicago native, Carol Moseley Braun, who became America’s first Black female senator in 1992, delivered the Illinois votes at the convention, which switched to an all-virtual event because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chicago alumni scheduled to speak or perform, included former President Barack Obama, singer Jennifer Hudson and rapper Common.On Sunday, another famous Chicago resident, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., was honored during a special tribute by the Congressional Black Caucus.
Rev. Jackson’s run for the presidency in 1984 and 1988, along with his national voter registration drives, gained millions of new voters and paved the way for scores of African Americans to win highly-contested seats, including governors, mayors, state, city and county offices.
The 2020 Democratic National Convention opened Monday, August 17 with the roster of speakers for the Convention presented virtually, from the Wisconsin Center convention hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Speakers did not travel to Milwaukee out of consideration for the public’s health.
Across the nation, Blacks watched as racial justice became one of three issues highlighted as the central focus of a convention. The convention began with a moment of silence led by the brothers of George Floyd, the Black man whose murder by police in Minneapolis set off protests across the globe. The incident widely boosted support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The other two issues of the convention are the coronavirus pandemic and the economy. Both problems have deeply impacted Blacks across the country during President Trump’s term. His divisive leadership and unswerving support of Confederate monuments has added more fuel to boiling racial tensions in cities across America.
Congressman James Clyburn, the highest-ranking Black member of Congress whose endorsement of Biden led Black voters to save his political campaign, was one of the first officials to speak at the convention.
“We will need a president who sees unifying people as a requirement of the job. A president who understands the true meaning of community,” Clyburn said in his address, slamming Trump for falling short on both counts. “We need a president who understands both profound loss and what it takes to bounce back.”
While this year’s convention lacked the patriotic pomp, pageantry and drama of American politics, the Democratic Convention, at times, sizzled with speeches that blasted Trump and put the embattled leader and his re-election campaign on notice.
On the first day of the convention, Michelle Obama took the first shot at Trump with a speech that set the tone of the virtual convention.
“So, let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.
“Now, I understand that my message won’t be heard by some people. We live in a nation that is deeply divided, and I am a Black woman speaking at the Democratic Convention. But enough of you know me by now. You know that I tell you exactly what I’m feeling. You know I hate politics, but you also know that I care about this nation. You know how much I care about all of our children.”
In her speech, Michelle Obama reminded voters of her husband’s achievements during his eight years as the nation’s first Black president. She alluded to Barack’s bailing out big banks and major automakers who were on the brink of collapse during the Great Recession in 2008.
Michelle Obama also indirectly spoke about Obamacare that allowed millions of Americans with preexisting conditions to obtain health insurance.
“We were respected around the world, rallying our allies to confront climate change,” Michelle Obama said. “And our leaders had worked hand in hand with scientists to help prevent an Ebola outbreak from becoming a global pandemic.
“And here at home, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered, stating the simple fact that a Black life matters is still met with derision from the nation’s highest office.”
At a campaign rally in Yuma, Arizona, Trump called Michelle Obama’s speech “divisive.”
He also said, “Somebody please explain to Michelle Obama that Donald J. Trump would not be here, in the beautiful White House, if it weren’t for the job done by your husband, Barack Obama.”
Trump added his opinion that her endorsement of Joe Biden was “merely an afterthought” which was “very late and unenthusiastic.”