We have our ticket: California Senator Kamala Harris will be Joe Biden’s running mate, bringing her intelligence and drive to bear in what may be the most important election of our lifetimes. Their win is far from certain, however—which is why each of us needs to do what we can to help.
Harris is the first Black and Indian American woman to represent California in the U.S. Senate. She was previously the California attorney general, overseeing the country’s second largest justice department after the U.S. Department of Justice.
She has been a long-time defender of LGBTQ rights, most notably when, as attorney general, she chose not to defend Proposition 8, California’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the ban in 2013, she then conducted the wedding of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, the two moms who were plaintiffs in the case.
Even before that, as San Francisco’s district attorney, “she created a special hate crime unit focused on crimes against LGBTQ children and teens” and “pushed for legislation to ban a gay/transgender ‘panic’ defense and to ban conversion therapy for minors,” as John Gallagher of LGBTQ Nation reminds us.
As a U.S. senator, “Harris has taken major steps to lead efforts on LGBTQ rights, including the introduction of pro-LGBTQ legislation in addition to drawing attention to the anti-LGBTQ policies of the Trump administration,” notes Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade.
Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund (and a lesbian mom), said in a statement today:
With Joe Biden’s announcement that Senator Kamala Harris will be his running mate, history has been made. As the third woman and the first woman of color to be a Vice Presidential candidate, millions of people across the country will finally see themselves reflected in this historic choice. If elected, it will be the first time a woman and a woman of color would have held federal executive office in the United States of America which will forever shift what our nation’s leaders will look like in history.
Alphonso David, president of HRC, called Harris an “outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community” and the Biden-Harris ticket “our nation’s most pro-equality ticket in history.”
National LGBTQ Task Force Deputy Director Kierra Johnson wisely cautioned, however:
As a Black, queer woman and leader in the LGBTQ movement, I know far too well how women of color are often asked to fix all that’s wrong with our systems in a short period time as if it didn’t take centuries for the system to become as corrupt as it is. We join with others who have recently challenged the media and others to be attuned to the racism and sexism targeting candidates, including Senator Harris.
Many of us can find at least some reason the Biden-Harris ticket isn’t perfect. There’s likely some position or action of Biden or Harris that we don’t condone. Their ticket is, however, orders of magnitude better than that of Trump and Pence, not only on LGBTQ rights, but on racial justice, education, health care, the environment, and dealing with the pandemic, among many other key issues.
In order to get them elected, however, we need to do some work between now and November 3. At the very least, we must vote and encourage others to do so as well. (Are you registered to vote? Are you sure? If not, do it now.) We can also get involved with the campaign in many ways, including socially distanced ones.
We can also help out with nonpartisan voter outreach campaigns like Reclaim Our Vote to help ensure every American can exercise this fundamental right, or stay involved with LGBTQ and other social justice organizations that I’m sure will be doing a ton of work leading up to the election.
The Trump era has been damaging to so many people in so many ways. We have the chance to change this. Many of us have practice in fighting for our rights, in doing outreach for causes near to our hearts, in talking with neighbors and family and friends about why these things matter. Let’s use those skills now to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, making our country one that our children can be proud of once again.