The 2020 Democratic National Convention has already featured some marquee speeches from the likes of former first lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York). But on Wednesday, Aug. 19, Americans got one of the most anticipated speeches when Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's running mate took center stage. Kamala Harris' vice presidential nomination acceptance speech was an inspirational moment in history, and it'll give you some major feels.
On a night that included other notable speakers, including former President Barack Obama, Harris' speech touched on her Jamaican and Indian heritage, systemic racism, and her vision for a more inclusive America. At the beginning of her address, she mentioned the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which had been marked on Aug. 18, and the women who fought for the right to vote, including the Black women "who were still prohibited from voting long after [the amendment's] ratification."
Standing in a convention center in Wilmington, Delaware, Harris delivered the most historic and touching moment of her speech, talking about her mother, an immigrant from India. "I keep thinking about that 25-year-old Indian woman, all of 5 feet tall, who gave birth to me at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, California," Harris said. "On that day, she probably could have never imagined that I would be standing before you now and speaking these words: I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States of America.”
She cited her mother's values as one of the leading reasons she went into law and public service. "She raised us to be proud, strong Black women," Harris said of her mother. "And she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage." She went on to point out that "there is no vaccine for racism" and detail her hopes to incite necessary changes to ensure equality in America.
Harris spoke of a commitment to a “vision of our nation as a beloved community — where all are welcome, no matter what we look like, no matter where we come from or who we love.” And though everyone "may not agree on every detail," Harris said she dreams of an America that is "united by the fundamental belief that every human being is of infinite worth, deserving of compassion, dignity, and respect.” Her image of America as a "country where we look out for one another" and "rise and fall as one."
Biden named Harris his running mate on Tuesday, Aug. 11, and if they win the presidential election, Harris will be the first-ever Black person to hold the office of vice president, as well as the first woman and first person of Indian heritage to hold the office. Following the announcement, Harris took to Twitter to express her enthusiasm. "@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he's spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he'll build an America that lives up to our ideals," she wrote. "I'm honored to join him as our party's nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief."
Opening night of the DNC began with some inspirational words from Biden, Sanders, and Michelle Obama. Obama's speech stood out as particularly timely, as she voiced her support for Biden and openly criticized the Trump administration. In a pre-recorded video address, Obama began by saying, "If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can — and they will if we don’t make a change in this election." As she continued her inspirational speech, she said, "If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”
The convention will come to a close on Thursday, Aug. 20, with Biden's official acceptance of the Democratic nomination. The Republican National Convention will take place from Aug. 24-28, and will formally re-nominate President Donald Trump on Monday, Aug. 24.