Hamil R. HarrisPolitics

Harris Selection Energizes D.C. Leaders, Residents

From D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick, leaders across the District of Columbia and from all stations of life are expressing excitement over Joe Biden’s selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 presidential campaign.

“My warmest congratulations to @Kamala Harris,” Bowser tweeted. “I am confident Biden-Harris will prove to be a winning ticket. I will do my utmost to help them win and govern.”

Harris, the first African American woman ever tapped to be a vice presidential candidate of a major party, was selected by Biden after an exhaustive search for months among a field of nearly a dozen candidates.

Frederick, president of Harris’ alma mater, put her selection in a historical context.

“Today is an extraordinary moment in the history of America and of Howard University,” Frederick said. “Senator Kamala Harris’ selection as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate represents a milestone opportunity for our democracy to acknowledge the leadership Black women have always exhibited, but has too often been ignored.

“We are proud to call Howard University alumna Kamala Harris a member of our HU family,” he said. “As Senator Harris embarks upon this new chapter in her life, and in our country’s history, she is poised to break two glass ceilings in our society with one fell swoop of her Howard hammer! The HBCU community and I will be watching.”

From San Francisco to D.C., Harris has deep social and political ties within the African American community, particularly among women’s group such as her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and with District political leaders.

“I am so excited,” said Jeannette Mobley, president of D.C. Democratic Women’s Club. “We had a diverse group of women who all capable but we are especially happy that Kamala Harris was selected because she is a lawyer, she is very bright, she has served as the attorney general of California and she has worked hard in the U.S. Senate. You couldn’t have asked for a better candidate.”

Sharon Anderson, the former interim secretary of the District of Columbia who now has her own consulting firm, said Harris is a great pick for a number of reasons.

“She brings a great combination of experience, knowledge, political savvy and empathy to the race,” Anderson said. “One of her major assets is that she has actually governed and that is sorely needed right now. I really appreciate the way she relates to how government decisions affect the lives of ordinary people.”

Alvin Thornton, chairman of the Prince George’s County Board of Education, said Biden’s selection of Harris gives American children “an example of the best and brightest that our nation has to offer in this critical time.”

The selection is resonating with women from across the country, even former U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who was also considered for the job.

“I warmly congratulate Senator Kamala Harris on her selection as Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential Running mate,” Rice said in a statement. “Senator Harris is a tenacious and trailblazing leader who will make a great partner on the campaign trail. I am confident that Biden-Harris will prove to be the winning ticket.”

Barbara Holt Streeter, public relations executive and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, concurred.

“As a Black woman, I literally screamed when I heard the news,” Streeter said. “I was excited for all of my nieces, my sisters and my colleagues. The next 84 days will be the most important in our lifetime.”

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Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the Greater Washington Area. Hamil has chronicled the Million Man March, the Clinton White House, the September 11 attack, the sniper attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the campaign of President Barack Obama and many other people and events. Hamil is currently a multi-platform reporter on the Local Desk of the Washington Post where he writes a range of stories, shoots photos and produces videos for the print and online editions of the Post. In addition, he is often called upon to report on crime, natural disasters and other breaking issues. In 2006 Harris was part of a team of reporters that published the series “Being a Black Man.” He was also the reporter on the video project that accompanied the series that won two Emmy Awards, the Casey Medal and the Peabody Award. Hamil has lectured at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, the American University, the University of Maryland and the University of the District of Columbia. He also lectures several times a year to interns during their semester in the District as part of their matriculation at the Consortium of Christian Colleges and Universities.

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