Vice President Honors Martin Luther King Jr., Urges Voters ‘We Were Born for a Time Such as This’

During a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech in South Carolina, Vice President Kamala Harris referenced Republican politicians Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis following controversial actions from the pair.

Haley’s Civil War stance

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In a subtle jab at former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, Harris questioned whether she needed to clarify that the Civil War was about slavery, referencing Haley’s past refusal to name slavery as a cause of the war.

Controversial curriculum

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Harris also took aim at Governor Ron DeSantis. The vice president told the crowd, “They tell our children that enslaved people benefited from slavery.” Her comment comes after DeSantis was embroiled in controversy for barring public schools from participating in an AP course on African American Studies.

Importance of unity

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“They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, in an attempt to divide and distract our nation with unnecessary debates,” Harris continued, urging citizens to stand together against the divisive tactics.

Longstanding similarities

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Drawing parallels between Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings and current challenges, Harris then emphasized the enduring relevance of the civil rights leader’s message. She highlighted the threats to freedoms today and called on voters to defend American principles in the face of ongoing struggles.

Freedom under threat

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Harris delved into the fundamental promise of America—freedom—asserting that it “is not to be given. It is not to be bestowed. It is ours by right. And in many ways, the story of America has been a story of our fight, to realize that promise, as Dr. King wrote in the letter from Birmingham jail.”

A multitude of dangers

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While giving her speech at the NAACP’s annual King Day at the Dome event, the vice president also emphasized that the country was under “profound threat.” She cited the increase in gun violence, the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Republican-supported book bans, and long lines for voting.

Ongoing fight

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Quoting Martin Luther King Jr.’s late widow, Coretta, Harris told the audience, “Freedom is never truly won. You earn it and win it in every generation.” She also said that it was time for voters to roll up their sleeves and that “we were born for a time such as this.”

Honoring MLK

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Harris finished her inspiring speech with a powerful statement. “We celebrate the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—a visionary who saw what could be unburdened by what had been. An organizer who moved the minds, the hearts, and the feet of the American people.”

Neverending backlash

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Much like at several other recent speeches and events attended by Harris (and President Biden), protesters were present, some with Palestinian flags. Shouts of “ceasefire” and “from the river to the sea” could be heard from those angered by the Biden administration’s support of Israel.

A national stand

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Beyond the South Carolina speech, Harris is embarking on an abortion-rights tour across the United States. The tour aligns with her commitment to advocating for women’s reproductive rights and reflects her dedication to addressing critical issues on a national scale.

The challenge ahead

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​​As the political landscape continues to rapidly evolve, Harris remains a prominent voice, navigating both historical legacies and current struggles in the lead-up to the 2024 general election.


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