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The announcement comes a week after the Arizona Supreme Court upheld electoral restrictive laws and after 17 states passed dozens of new laws restricting access to voting this year. according to the latest balance sheet. Nearly 400 restrictive bills in 48 states have also been introduced.
The investment is a way to “defend” against these restrictive laws, Harris said on Thursday.
“It’s never too early to defend your rights,” she said.
The event opened with comments from DNC chairman Jaime Harrison, who criticized last week’s Supreme Court ruling.
“My friends, we all know this is nothing new,” he said. “It’s the spirit of Jim Crow.”
Harris was then introduced by Howard University Student Association President Kylie Burke, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and received a university congressional scholarship that brought her to the Harris Senate office during her sophomore year.
“She was and still is a shining example of leadership excellence,” said Burke.
“Howard teaches you a thing or two about grit,” she added. “It teaches you to stay focused. It teaches you to be persistent regardless of the inevitable obstacles that come your way. As you can imagine, all of this comes in handy in paving a way forward for women at the highest levels of American politics. “
Harris’ announcement was followed by a meeting with eight civil rights leaders at the White House to discuss suffrage, police brutality and gun violence with President Joe Biden, the Vice President and several White House advisers.
Outside the west wing, several leaders said the meeting went well and that Biden made it clear that he understood the importance of voting issues to the group.
NAACP’s Sherrilyn Ifill also said it is important for the civil rights cohort to act now.
“We told the president that we had our backs against the wall,” Ifill told reporters. “This is the moment. There is no more time. We need laws. We have to get the president to use his voice, use his influence, use his power and use what he clearly understands at this moment.”
Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network also said the group had told the president that there would be a summer of grassroots action to encourage change and legislative movements on these issues. While he said he felt Biden understood the importance of what was being discussed at the nearly two-hour meeting, progress would require more than “high-level meetings on the Beltway or the Ivory Towers.”
“This will be a summer of activism, a summer to take to the streets again, a summer to tell the Senate and Congress, you might go home, but politically it will be warmer than you are locally think. ”said Sharpton. “And we want to make that clear.”