Kamala Harris is vying to become the first Black woman in history to serve as president of the United States of America. The Democratic senator from California shared her vision for America at Black Enterprise’s Women of Power Summit.
In a discussion moderated by Star Jones that took place at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Harris spoke about the U.S. economy, criminal justice reform and gender equality in the workplace.
In terms of jobs and the economy, Harris took aim at Donald Trump for dividing the country instead of focusing on what matters the most.
“People are acutely aware that their jobs are leaving and there is no plan in place to deal with this,” Harris told the audience of over 1,500 Black women. “Instead, it has been, ‘It’s us versus them. It’s those immigrants.’ ”
During the discussion, Harris also made it a point to emphasize her time at Howard University and the importance of HBCUs.
“There are two things that made me who I am: an incredibly strong mother and family that nurtured me, and Howard University,” she said as the audience cheered. “For those of us who attended HBCUs, you look around and you see a campus full of people who look just like you. You are in [an] environment that tells you that you will be great. It teaches you that … you don’t have to be limited by others’ perceptions of who you are. You come from great people.”
Although Harris stands out as a legitimate presidential candidate, she continues to face a backlash in some quarters due to her former position as district attorney in San Francisco. Harris addressed her role as D.A., pointing out that she created a re-entry program called “Back on Track,” which focused on keeping young offenders, mostly accused of drug-related crimes, from reoffending.
She also spoke about her role in implementing police reform by launching a program that ensured that all officers would wear body cameras. Harris told the audience that she wanted to help change criminal justice from within. “There has to be a role for us in the inside of the room where the decisions are being made,” she said.
Harris inspired the women, many of whom are top-level executives at major corporations, to be confident at all times about who they are and to remain inspired.
“You will find many times in your life … that you will be the only woman who looks like you in the room,” Harris told the audience. “Look around this room and hold this image in your heart. And remember that when you’re in those rooms, seemingly the only one like us, that we’re all in that room with you … cheering you on the whole time.”