A senator from California and a former prosecutor, Ms. Harris has a track record in breaking new ground. Now, she is the first woman, first Black person, and first person of Asian descent elected to the country’s second-highest office.
A barrier-breaking prosecutor with a love for grilling — “Question, I will repeat —” — and music: “One nation under a groove —”
California Senator Kamala Harris is making history as the first woman, and first woman of colour, elected vice president. “Let’s talk about who is prepared to lead our country over the course of the next four years.”
She ran for president, going head-to-head with Biden over school busing. “You know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.” But she later endorsed him, and he picked her as his running mate. And soon they will be entering the White House together.
“I am incredibly honored by this responsibility, and I am ready to get to work.” Haris has a track record of being the first. “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last.”
She was the first black person and first woman to become district attorney of San Francisco, and later attorney general of California. “I decided to become a prosecutor because I believed that there were vulnerable and voiceless people who deserved to have a voice in that system.”
And in 2016, she was elected the first Black senator from California. And now she will be the first woman, first Black person and first person of Asian descent elected to the country’s second-highest office. So what is she known for in Washington? “So my question to you —” As a senator, Harris served on four committees, and was perhaps best known for her tough questions. “It makes me nervous.” “Is that a no?” “Is that a yes?” “Can I get to respond please, ma’am?” “No, sir. No, no.” And some of her policy priorities? Criminal justice reform and racial justice legislation. “Racial justice is on the ballot in 2020.”
After George Floyd’s killing in police custody, Harris became an outspoken voice in the national debate on police brutality.
“We should have things like a national standard for excessive use of force.” And on the campaign trail, she doubled down on that message, making a concerted effort to reach voters of color. “People have been asking, ‘Why should I vote?’ One: Honor the ancestors. Honor people like the late, great John Lewis, who shed his blood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge so we could vote.”
But she’s faced criticism from progressive activists over her record as a prosecutor, including her push for higher cash bails for certain crimes, and for refusing to support independent investigations for police shootings as recently as 2014. So what does she bring to the White House? “This is our house!”
She is policy-oriented and pragmatic. Proponents say that her experience in law enforcement will help her face the unique challenges of the moment and that her lack of ideological rigidity makes her well suited for the vice presidency.
“We can overcome these challenges.” Harris embodies the future of a country that is growing more racially diverse. As one of the best-known Black women in American politics, Harris now finds herself the most clearly positioned heir to the White House, with the oldest incoming president in history.
From the earliest days of her childhood, Kamala Harris was taught that the road to racial justice was long.
She spoke often on the campaign trail of those who had come before her, of her parents, immigrants drawn to the civil rights struggle in the United States — and of the ancestors who had paved the way.
As she took the stage in Texas shortly before the election, Ms. Harris spoke of being singular in her role but not solitary.
“Yes, sister, sometimes we may be the only one that looks like us walking in that room,” she told a largely Black audience in Fort Worth. “But the thing we all know is we never walk in those rooms alone — we are all in that room together.”
With her ascension to the vice presidency, Ms. Harris will become the first woman and first woman of color to hold that office, a milestone for a nation in upheaval, grappling with a damaging history of racial injustice exposed, yet again, in a divisive election. Ms. Harris, 56, embodies the future of a country that is growing more racially diverse, even if the person voters picked for the top of the ticket is a 77-year-old white man.
That she has risen higher in the country’s leadership than any woman ever has underscores the extraordinary arc of her political career. A former San Francisco district attorney, she was elected as the first Black woman to serve as California’s attorney general. When she was elected a United States senator in 2016, she became only the second Black woman in the chamber’s history.
Almost immediately, she made a name for herself in Washington with her withering prosecutorial style in Senate hearings, grilling her adversaries in high-stakes moments that at times went viral.
Yet what also distinguished her was her personal biography: The daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother, she was steeped in racial justice issues from her early years in Oakland and Berkeley, Calif., and wrote in her memoir of memories of the chants, shouts and “sea of legs moving about” at protests. She recalled hearing Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to mount a national campaign for president, speak in 1971 at a Black cultural center in Berkeley that she frequented as a young girl. “Talk about strength!” she wrote.
After several years in Montreal, Ms. Harris attended Howard University, a historically Black college and one of the country’s most prestigious, then pursued work as a prosecutor on domestic violence and child exploitation cases. She speaks easily and often of her mother, a breast cancer researcher who died in 2009; of her white and Jewish husband, Douglas Emhoff, who will make history in his own right as the first second gentleman; and of her stepchildren, who call her Momala.
It was a story she tried to tell on the campaign trail during the Democratic primary with mixed success. Kicking off her candidacy with homages to Ms. Chisholm, Ms. Harris attracted a crowd in Oakland that her advisers estimated at more than 20,000, a tremendous show of strength that immediately established her as a front-runner in the race. But vying for the nomination against the most diverse field of candidates in history, she failed to capture a surge of support and dropped out weeks before any votes were cast.
Part of her challenge, especially with the party’s progressive wing she sought to win over, was the difficulty she had reconciling her past positions as California’s attorney general with the current mores of her party. She struggled to define her policy agenda, waffling on health care and even her own assault on Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s record on race, perhaps the toughest attack he faced throughout the primary campaign.
“Policy has to be relevant,” Ms. Harris said in an interview with The New York Times in July 2019. “That’s my guiding principle: Is it relevant? Not, ‘Is it a beautiful sonnet?’”
But it is also this lack of ideological rigidity that makes her well suited for the vice presidency, a role that demands a tempering of personal views in deference to the man at the top. As the vice-presidential nominee, Ms. Harris has endeavored to make plain that she supports Mr. Biden’s positions — even if some differ from those she backed during the primary.
While she struggled to attract the very women and Black voters she had hoped would connect with her personal story during her primary bid, she continued to make a concerted effort as Mr. Biden’s running mate to reach out to people of color, some of whom have said they feel represented in national politics for the first time.
Many witnessed — and recoiled at — the persistent racist and sexist attacks from conservatives. President Trump has refused to pronounce her name correctly and after the vice-presidential debate, he derided her as a “monster.”
For some of her supporters, the vitriol Ms. Harris had to withstand was another aspect of her experience they found relatable.
“I know what I was thrown into as the only African-American at the table,” said Clara Faulkner, the mayor pro tem of Forest Hill, Texas, as she waited for Ms. Harris to address a socially distanced crowd in Fort Worth. “It’s just seeing God move in a mighty way.”
While some members of the political establishment professed outrage at the insults, friends of Ms. Harris knew that her pragmatism extended to her understanding of how the political world treats women of color.
Senator Cory Booker, a colleague and friend of Ms. Harris’s who has known her for decades, said in an interview that some of her guardedness was a form of self-protection in a world that has not always embraced a barrier-breaking Black woman.
“She still has this grace about her where it’s almost as if these things don’t affect her spirit,” Mr. Booker said. “She’s endured this for her entire career and she does not give people license to have entrance into her heart.”
After waiting days for results, Democrats rejoiced in a victory that offered a bright spot in an election that delivered losses to many of their candidates, including several high-profile women.
Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California, who got involved in politics through Ms. Chisholm’s presidential campaign, said she always believed she would see the first Black woman at the steps of the White House.
“Here you have now this remarkable, brilliant, prepared African-American woman, South Asian woman, ready to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of Shirley Chisholm and myself and so many women of color,” she said. “This is exciting and is finally a breakthrough that so many of us have been waiting for. And it didn’t come easy.”
‘We are in a better place than we were four years ago.’
The Democrats’ down-ballot defeats tempered the celebratory mood a bit, as did a wistful sense among some activists and leaders that this historic first still leaves women in second place — closer than ever to the Oval Office, sure, but not in it.
The end to a presidency that inspired waves of opposition from women, many politically engaged for the first time, has left the “highest, hardest glass ceiling” intact. Democratic primary voters, including a significant number of women, had rallied behind Mr. Biden, eschewing the women and people of color in the race because they believed Mr. Biden would be most capable of beating Mr. Trump. Scarred by Hillary Clinton’s defeat four years ago, many believed the country was not quite ready to elect a female commander in chief.
Ms. Harris’s presence on the ticket will forever be linked to Mr. Biden’s explicit promise to select a female running mate in an acknowledgment that the party’s future probably does not look like him.
Ms. Harris now finds herself the most clearly positioned heir to the White House. Perhaps more than any other vice president in recent memory, she will be carefully scrutinized for her ambitions, a level of attention that is perhaps inevitable for the No. 2 of the oldest incoming No. 1 in history.
Mr. Biden understands this, Mr. Booker said: “He is really bringing us to the next election.”
Allies say Ms. Harris is acutely aware of her place in history. She views her work as connected to both the civil rights leaders who came before her — the “ancestors,” as she calls them — and the generations she hopes to empower.
Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, a rising figure in the party’s left wing, said Ms. Harris’s ascent was a deep source of pride among South Asians, expanding the imaginations of how high they can climb in American public life. Ms. Jayapal has spoken proudly of her own connection to the new vice president, writing an op-ed article in The Los Angeles Times in August describing their intertwined family history in South India.
“She understands what it means to be the child of immigrants — what it means to be a person of color seeking racial justice,” she said, pointing to Ms. Harris’s work on rights for domestic workers and helping Muslim immigrants get access to legal counsel. “There’s just so much you don’t have to explain to a Vice President Harris and I believe she will fight for many of the issues that are important to our South Asian community.”
The small sorority of Black women in federal politics also views Ms. Harris as a mentor and an ally, praising her championing of issues like Black maternal mortality and anti-lynching legislation that have not typically received the spotlight that can follow a high-wattage political brand.
When Representative Lauren Underwood was mounting her first race for Congress, trying to become the first Black women to win her predominantly white suburban Chicago district, Ms. Harris reached out for coffee.
“There’s not that many Black women who have been at the highest level of politics in this country. Not that many Black women who have run very competitive races,” said Ms. Underwood, who became the youngest Black woman ever elected to Congress in 2018. “To have the opportunity to learn from, counsel from and just know someone who has done that is something I find incredibly valuable.”
Kimberlé Crenshaw, a prominent Black progressive scholar, hailed Ms. Harris’s ascension to the vice presidency and described her as “well positioned to weather the storms that will definitely come now that she has broken through the glass ceiling.”
But amid the joy and sense of empowerment in seeing a woman of color as the nation’s second-highest elected official, she also cautioned that the history-making moment should not distract progressives from continuing to push their agenda.
“This is still the Biden administration — what Kamala Harris thinks or does has to be recognized as being part of that administration,” she said. “So we cannot let the pedal to the metal be slowed in any way because we’re celebrating the fact that we’ve had this breakthrough moment.”
For others, that moment has been a very long time coming.
Opal Lee, 94, paid a poll tax when she first went to vote, choosing between casting her ballot for the Democratic candidate or buying food for her four young children. Decades later, Ms. Lee, a former teacher and activist from Fort Worth, Texas, celebrated at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Despite the health risks from the coronavirus pandemic, Ms. Lee has no intention of missing Mr. Biden’s inauguration in Washington this January — to witness Ms. Harris.
“I want to be able to tell my great-great-grandchildren how it felt for a woman to be vice president,” she said. “I just got to go.”
NDLEA Seizes 442 Meth In Smoked Fish At Lagos Airport …Another Suspect Excretes 77 Pellets Of Cocaine
The operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have intercepted no fewer than 442 parcels of Crystal Methamphetamine concealed in heads of fishes packed in cartons for export to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates through the SAHCO shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State.
The 11.90kg consignment was brought to the SAHCO export shed of the airport on Friday, August 5 by a 32-year-old freight agent, Adekunle Oluwapelumi Paul, from Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State.
This was disclosed via a statement issued and made available to The Tide source yesterday by the NDLEA Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi.
Babafemi stated that the suspect was arrested upon the discovery that the seven cartons he presented for export contained parcels of the dangerous drug wrapped with foil paper and concealed in the heads of hundreds of smoked catfish.
The NDLEA spokesman added that another consignment containing 1.45kg cannabis concealed inside granulated melon and crayfish and packed among other food condiments going to Dubai, UAE was also intercepted by the operatives of the anti-drug agency on Saturday, August 6.
He noted that the NDLEA officers arrested the freight agent, Ajisefini Lateef, who presented the consignment for export at the SAHCO shed.
Babafemi said the 39-year-old agent hails from Abeokuta West Local Government Area of Ogun State.
He further stated that the anti-narcotic officers arrested a 50-year-old Mgbeobuna Victor Eberechukwu for ingesting 77 pellets of cocaine at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The NDLEA spokesperson said Eberechukwu was arrested on Saturday, August 6 following his arrival from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia onboard an Ethiopian airline flight.
According to Babafemi, the suspect who hails from Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State passed out the 77 wraps of the illicit drug in eight excretions spanning four days.
“The suspect, who hails from Idemili South LGA, Anambra State passed out the 77 wraps of the illicit drug in eight excretions spanning four days,” he said.
Babafemi added that in Kaduna, three suspects: Saifullahi Sani, Salisu Nafi’u and Abdulrazaq Mamman, were arrested in Zaria on Thursday, on 11 August with 1,112,350 tablets of Tramadol (225mg and 100mg) weighing 38.3kg.
He said in Kano, a female drug dealer, Saratu Abdullahi, 28, from Wurno council area of the state was nabbed at Hotoro with 541 blocks of cannabis weighing 245kg.
“In Lagos, NDLEA operatives recovered a total of 1,773.25kg cannabis sativa at Ebutte-Meta and Akala in Mushin areas of the state in separate raid operations between 9th and 10th August.
“At the Tin Can seaport in Lagos, 86 parcels of cannabis indica (Colorado) weighing 43kg were recovered from a 40ft container during a joint examination with Customs and other security agencies.
“The illegal consignment seized on Friday 12th Aug came from Toronto via Montreal, Canada and concealed in two drums inside a Mercedes Benz SUV in the container,” Babafemi stated.
The Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), commended the anti-narcotic officers for the arrests and seizures.
Marwa also charged them and their compatriots across the country to always remain steps ahead of the drug cartels.
NLNG Train 7: TUC Affiliates Mull Strike Over Imposition Of Union On Workers
A setback appears to be unfolding in the on-going Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 gas plant construction in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State, following the threat by one of the affiliates of Trade Union Congress (TUC), National Association of Plant Operators (NAPO), to proceed on industrial action to press home their displeasure over the imposition of union on workers in the facility.
This is because members of NAPO, the major construction workers in NLNG Train 7 have threatened to organise and mobilise for a total industrial action that would jeopardise and shut down the project over the decision by the management of Deawoo Engineering and Construction Nigeria Limited, a key contracting firm handling the project, to force workers to join a particular union against their own preferred choice.
The National President of NAPO, Comrade Harold Bestowe, gave this indication while addressing journalists in Port Harcourt over the weekend.
Bestowe, an indigene of Bonny, averred that the action of Deawoo management was an aberration to Section 40 of 1999 Constitution, and Article 1, 2, 3, nos 83, 1948 of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Charter, which according to him, allow workers to freely belong to any industrial union of their choice without any form of interference by anybody.
The NAPO boss, therefore, urged the management of Deawoo E and C to respect the views and rights of their workers, and allow them to freely choose the labour unions of their choice, which they feel can represent them very well.
“What we are saying in this regard is that the management cannot determine to workers the union they should be belonging. By so doing, the management has violated Section 40 of 1999 Constitution as well as Article 1, 2, 3, nos 83 of ILO Charter, and that we will resist it”, he stated.
Harold opined that the workers have written to the management that they want to be unionised by NAPO through several letters, and appealed to the management of the lead constructing company in the project to respect the views and rights of the workers.
The Bonny-born unionist used the opportunity to call on various stakeholders in the ongoing NLNG Train 7 project to call to order the management of the giant construction company to respect the laws of the country in other to avoid industrial unrest in the oceanic city.
By: Akujobi Amadi
We Can’t Feed Everybody, Nwanosike Tells Empowerment Projects’ Beneficiaries
The Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area in Rivers State, Engr Samuel Nwanosike, has urged the people of the area to use what the council has given them to provide food, pay their children’s school fees, change their clothes, and live happily as all their needs cannot be provided for by the government.
Nwanosike made this appeal when he defiled heavy down pour to continue his Back-to-Farm, Back-to-School, and Business Support Empowerment Programme of 80 people at Ward 2, Isiokpo.
According to him, “Today, we are in Ward 2, Isiokpo, in continuation of our Back-to-Farm Programme, Business Support Empowerment, and Back-to-School Programme.
“What we have come to say here today is that this is the farming season, we are peasant farmers, the council has made provision for you to go and support your farming system.
“We can’t feed everybody in Ikwerre Local Government, but if you use what the council has given to you to do the actual farming, few weeks from now, the result will show. We will have enough food in our market, we will have opportunity to pay our children’s school fees, we will have opportunity to change our clothes and live happily”.
Nwanosike pleaded with those who were not empowered to wait for another turn, saying that Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, was the leader of South-South people and believed in a South-South presidential pursuit.
He said, “Government cannot do everything for everybody at the same time. There are those who did not get yesterday, but got today. There are those who did not get yesterday, and today but will get tomorrow. What is important is that you should remain consistent with your party, and know that Chief Nyesom Wike is the leader of the South-South people.
“He is not a betrayer. He agreed with the other governors of the South-South states to say power should go to the South, and he has remained consistent in that pursuit.
“And what we are saying clearly is: if you take Chief Nyesom Wike for granted, Rivers people will take you for granted at the polling units”.
While speaking, the Supervisor for Education, Ikwerre LGA, Hon. Victor Wagor, assured Nwanosike that the people of Ward 2 were 100perrcent loyal to him for always carrying them along.
In their separate speeches, the Councillor representing Ward 2 and Leader of Ikwerre Legislative Assembly, Hon Nwobuisi Chikwe-Tasie; Ward 2 Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Darosha Kinika; Personal Assistant to the Chairman of Ikwerre LGA, Mrs Ethel Kinika; amongst others, thanked Nwanosike for building a 1,000-capacity hall, appointment of over 18 Ward 2 people into his government, and yearly empowerment of the people, while assuring that Ward 2 would always vote for PDP.
On their parts, the member representing Ikwerre/Emuoha Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Barrister Boniface Emerengwa; and the PDP candidate for Ikwerre Constituency at the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Prince Lemchi Nyeche; commended Nwanosike for always making the people feel the impact of his administration through his human capital development programmes.
Highlight of the event was the defection of an All Progressive Congress (APC) social media influencer in Ward 2, Mr Kelvin Amadi Chinwe, who dumped his party for the PDP.
Speaking at the event, Chinwe begged the leadership of PDP, especially Nwanosike, to forgive and accept him into PDP because he has found light in PDP.
Chinwe was received by the Acting Chairman of PDP in Ikwerre LGA, Hon. Charles Wobodo, and was handed over to the Ward 2 PDP chairman for proper documentation.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
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