Kamala Harris, VP, election, AME Church

Vice President Kamala Harris Marks Jan. 6 Anniversary, Stresses Urgency Of Black Support For 2024 Presidential Election At AME Church Event

VP Harris used the pulpit to tell the crowd of mostly Black women what the Dems say is at stake in the November election.

On the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Vice President Kamala Harris used the pulpit afforded to her by the 7th Episcopal District AME Church at their Women’s Missionary Society annual retreat to remind the crowd of mostly Black women what Democrats believe is at stake in the November election. As Reuters reported, Vice President Harris told the crowd, “Three years ago today, on January 6, 2021, when a mob violently attacked the United States Capitol, they used brutal force and fear to try to overturn the results of a free and fair election. They tried to overrule the votes of millions of Americans.”

She continued, “On that day, we saw violence, chaos, and lawlessness, but some so-called leaders still tried to mislead and gaslight by saying it was a peaceful protest. Let us not throw up our hands. It is time to roll up our sleeves. We were born for a time such as this, and we love our country.”

According to the Penn Capital Star, the event was billed as a White House event and not an official campaign stop, but Harris touched on many of the accomplishments of the Biden-Harris administration specific to the Black community. She also acknowledged that the Biden-Harris campaign needs help organizing their friends and neighbors.

“You showed up to vote, and you organized your friends and family members and neighbors to do the same, and it is because of you that Joe Biden is president of the United States,” Harris said, as enthusiastic applause filled the conference center ballroom of the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort hotel. “I’m here, of course, to say thank you.”

Harris later made comparisons between her administration and the Republican Party in general, telling the more than 1,200 attendees, “Let’s pull up a split screen.” Her remarks were met with clapping and cheering.

She went on, “On one side, they want to ban books. On the other side, we want to ban assault weapons. They want the government to tell a woman what to do with her body. We trust women to know what is in their own interest.”

Harris also implored the crowd to keep doing what they have been doing for generations, serving as defenders of American democracy at home, saying, “In this moment, our nation once again needs your leadership. As you have done for generations, to defend our most sacred ideals, to continue to organize, energize and make your voices heard.”

South Carolina proved pivotal to Biden’s election in 2020, so much so that the Biden administration moved South Carolina to the front of their 2024 campaign calendar, ahead of swing states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Though Biden has faced a drop in support among Black voters, the prevailing wisdom is that a strong primary in South Carolina would reinforce the notion that he is still the preferred candidate of the Democratic Party’s core constituency of Black voters. 

The AME Church has a long history, stretching back to the late 1700s, when white Methodists in Philadelphia pulled Black parishioners off their knees during a prayer service at St. George’s MEC. This indignity spurred the Free African Society members like Richard Allen and Absalom Jones to turn the mutual aid society into an African congregation.

In 1794, Bethel AME was dedicated and Allen served as the church’s first pastor. Eventually, the church spread across several states, including South Carolina, where the denomination would establish a foothold in cities like Charleston and Columbia, where the 7th District AME Church is located. 

As part of a larger push by the Biden-Harris campaign in South Carolina, President Joe Biden is scheduled to appear and speak on Jan. 8 at Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston, SC, the site of the 2015 attack by white supremacist Dylan Roof in which he killed nine congregants during Bible study. 

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