VP Kamala Harris Hypes Up Black Voters At White House’s First-Ever Juneteenth Concert

VP Kamala Harris Hypes Up Black Voters At White House’s First-Ever Juneteenth Concert

The South Lawn at the White House was covered with Black voters during a Juneteenth celebration.

According to Bloomberg, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris celebrated with Black voters at the White House’s first Juneteenth concert on June 13, 2023. She said she “was so proud to co-sponsor a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. And as Vice President, it was my honor to stand beside our President, Joe Biden, as he signed the legislation that finally made that dream a reality,” per a White House press release.

Harris remarked on the Biden-Harris administration’s progress for Blacks in America. “We have created more than 13 million jobs and achieved record low Black unemployment,” the vice president said per a White House press release. Harris added, “Since we took office, we have appointed more Black judges to the federal appellate bench than any administration in history. Yes, including the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in our land. Her name is Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.”

The first woman vice president of color noted the administration values education for Black students. She said they invested almost $7 million into the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Harris promised voters that she and the president are working to make changes to student debt. “And to make sure our young leaders can succeed after they graduate, we will continue to fight for student debt relief,” she said per a White House press release.

Harris gave the backstory of the federal holiday. She said, “On Juneteenth, we remember that after the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in the Confederacy, hundreds of thousands of Americans in Texas were kept in servitude for two more years.” She continued, “Then, on June 19th, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston to enforce emancipation. And the enslaved people of Texas claimed the freedom that was theirs by birth and by right.”

The vice president brought Opal Lee, the “grandmother of Juneteenth,” to the stage. The 96-year-old shared, “If people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love.”

U.S. President Joe Biden condemned racism in front of the crowd. According to U.S. News & World Report, Biden said racism was “still too powerful a force.” The president elaborated, “Hate only hides… And when given oxygen, just a little oxygen, it comes roaring back out again, and we have to … stand up and deny it the oxygen. So Juneteenth as a federal holiday is meant to breathe a new life into the very essence of America.”

BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported the Juneteenth celebration featured Jennifer Hudson, Method Man, Audra McDonald, Ledisi, Colman Domingo, and select HBCU marching bands.