Harris makes history: Accepts VP run with nod to women

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks on the third night of the Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center in Wilmington on Wednesday. Delaware State News/Katie Redefer

In Wilmington Wednesday night, Sen. Kamala Harris praised female trailblazers who made it possible for her to even be nominated for vice president, with special words of thanks for her mother.

“She raised us to be proud, strong Black women, and she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage,” she said.

The nation is at an “inflection point,” and Americans are grieving the loss of jobs and normalcy, she said.

Sen. Harris pledged to tackle structural racism, although she admitted that won’t be easy because “There is no vaccine for racism.”

She also referenced Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s late son Beau, who served as attorney general of Delaware from 2007 to 2015. Sen. Harris was attorney general in California for part of that time, and the two lawyers became friends before he died of brain cancer five years ago.

Democrats wrapped up the third day of their convention Wednesday excited about the future and ready to take on President Donald Trump on Nov. 3.

After delegates officially nominated Mr. Biden on the day before, Wednesday consisted of speeches from party royalty and testimonials from regular Americans, with a few musical performances to boot. Closing out the night were addresses from vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, a senator from California, and former President Barack Obama.

Media wait for Sen. Kamala Harris to accept the Democratic nomination for vice president Wednesday night in Wilmington. Delaware State News/Katie Redefer

Initial speakers included several younger Democrats, among them a survivor of the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot and nearly killed in 2011, also addressed viewers.

“We can protect our families, our future. We can vote,” Ms. Giffords said. “We can be on the right side of history. We must elect Joe Biden. He was there for me; he’ll be there for you, too. Join us in this fight.”

The third day of the Democratic National Convention was tagged with the theme “A More Perfect Union,” with speakers touting Mr. Biden’s record and urging voters to build a better America. Individuals touched on the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and Mr. Biden’s work pushing the Violence Against Women as a senator in the 1990s, among other subjects, offering snapshots of his lengthy career in politics.

All three members of Delaware’s congressional delegation spoke at least briefly on Tuesday, a night capped off with Mr. Biden’s wife, Jill, delivering her speech from Brandywine High School, where she once taught. Sen. Tom Carper and Gov. John Carney had the honor of casting the state’s votes for Mr. Biden to be the party nominee, doing so remotely from the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station in Wilmington.

The nominee aside, Delawareans were absent from the spotlight Wednesday, although Rep. Blunt Rochester appeared onscreen briefly during a segment about women’s rights.

Toward the end of the night, Sen. Harris and Mr. Obama called on Americans to stand up and fight for the future of the nation.

“We are not going back to where we were before Donald Trump’s economy and mishandling of the pandemic — for too many Americans, that wasn’t good enough,” Sen. Harris said. “As president, Joe Biden will lead us to a better America we know is possible. As he leads us out of Trump’s chaos and crises, he will help America build back better.”

Because of COVID-19, plans for a large gathering in Milwaukee had to be scrapped, and speakers have delivered their addresses remotely for the most part. Sen. Harris spoke from the Chase Center on the Riverfront on Wednesday, the same place Mr. Biden will take the microphone today, with only media and some convention and campaign staffers present.

As part of the pandemic regulations, the Chase Center was fettered by barricades and a high police presence Wednesday evening.
A handful of protesters stood with signs in hand at the entrance to the security checkpoint within the Chase Center, some supporting Mr. Biden and others President Donald Trump. Nobody without proper security credentials could enter the parking lot leading into the Westin hotel adjacent to the convention center, and the hoops to secure credentials were not easy to jump through.

Reporters and photographers walk to the Chase Center Wednesday night. Delaware State News/Katie Redefer

The convention utilized its own COVID-19 tests to assure that anyone entering the convention was negative for the virus. Any person who planned to attend had to visit the convention two consecutive days before for testing, and if their results came back negative the following morning, they were permitted entry. The test used on attendees was a simple nose swab with results available after less than 24 hours, courtesy of Wisconsin’s Public Health Department.

The Wilmington portion of the event was only open to authorized visitors, such as press and convention staffers, while viewers nationwide watched the convention from their television screens and laptops at home. About 30 reporters, who were given complimentary N95 masks to wear, waited inside the Chase Center leading up to Sen. Harris’ speech.

Despite testing negative for COVID-19 the day before, their temperatures were taken along with surveys to reassure they didn’t present viral symptoms to convention staffers before they were permitted inside the Chase Center.

Sen. Harris has appeared several times in Wilmington since Mr. Biden selected her as his running mate, most notably last week in their first appearance together as the complete Democratic ticket for president.