EDITOR’S NOTE: On April 15, 2023, V.P. Kamala Harris spoke at a reproductive rights rally at the Los Angeles City Hall. Following are her comments:
Mayor Bass! L.A.! So, I’m here to thank all the leaders who came out today and for what you have done for years and years and years, understanding that we can never take anything for granted and that we must show up each and every day if we are to defend our fundamental rights.
Let us center on where we are. Let us center on where we are right now. This is a critical point in our nation’s history. We are seeing, around the country, in a myriad of ways, those who would dare to attack fundamental rights and, by extension, attack our democracy.
Around our country, supposed so-called extremist leaders who would dare to silence the voices of the people.
A United States Supreme Court, the highest court in our land, that took a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America.
We have seen attacks on voting rights; attacks on fundamental rights to love and marry the people that you love; attacks on the ability of people to be themselves and be proud of who they are.
And so, this is a moment that history will show required each of us, based on our collective love of our country, to stand up and fight for and protect our ideals. That’s what this moment is.
This moment, I believe, is the next phase of a movement. And we have all been called to help lead this movement to fight on behalf of all of the people who have so much at stake.
You know, I’ve been traveling around the world as your Vice President. And – thank you. And here’s the thing, though. Here’s the thing. When we, as Americans, walk in those rooms around the world, we have traditionally walked in those rooms, shoulders back, chin up, having some authority to talk about the importance of rule of law, human rights.
But here’s the thing we all know about what it means to be a role model: People watch what you do to see if it matches what you say.
So, let us understand that what is happening in our nation right now, by extension, can impact people around the world who dare to say, “I want my country to be like the United States and protect rights.” And those autocrats and those dictators might look at those folks and say, “What are you pointing to as the example?”
There’s so much at stake right now. There is so much at stake right now.
And so, we have been called upon to be the next generation of the people who will help lead and fight in this movement for freedom and liberty based on our love of our country.
And I want to make another point. You know, in traveling around the world, I often – in fact, almost every time when I go to a new country – I’ll meet with women to talk with them about how they’re doing. Because I fundamentally believe that you can gauge the strength of a democracy based on the strength of women in that democracy.
So, when they dare attack the rights of women, understand, for all of you who are watching who walk around wearing those lapel pins, requiring that people look at you with some level of respect: When you attack the rights of women in America, you are attacking America.
All of this is at stake. So, to the young leaders here and around the world, and our men and everyone who is here: Let us know that we are strong when we are together. We are strong when we know the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us. We are strong when we stand in unity. We are strong when we build our coalition.
We are strong when we understand that you got to know what you stand for to know what to fight for. And we stand for our democracy. And we stand for foundational and fundamental principles that have everything to do with freedom, liberty, and equality for all people.
Thank you, L.A.