It’s the week before Election day.
I urge all voters to show gratitude for hardworking Black American women by voting for Kamala Harris.
I am sure some of you in Lansing have not voted yet. I haven’t. My absentee ballot is sitting right there on the mantle. And there were, as of last Friday, 100,000 voters like me in my native City of Detroit who have not voted and returned their absentee ballot.
Black women were all supposed to have voted already. Vote early, Michelle Obama asked for that more than two months ago. Some people may be mad about my dragging my feet. Especially my buddy Landis Lain, candidate for 30th Circuit Court judge.
Nothing feels more urgent than short time. That’s why I’m wearing my Delta Sigma Theta fire-engine red GOTV tee-shirt to Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope’s event, Souls to the Polls, scheduled for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, just three and two days before Election Day.
But about Kamala Harris. Vote for her because Black American women are the great unpraised goddesses of the United States. We are “cornered” into doing the underappreciated and underpaid dirty work of American society, sociologist Paula Rothenberg wrote in her book “Race, Class and Gender in the United States.”
Kamala Harris is willing to do the dirty work. She told Donald Trump in a tweet, “I’ll see you in court.”
Senator Harris is the woman to do it. She is a professional prosecutor. She served as district attorney for San Francisco from 2004 to 2011. And she was elected attorney general of the state of California in 2011. In 2016, she ascended to the U.S. Senate.
Some will say Harris is lacking in other areas. Even my mother, who is an extraordinarily hardworking traditional Black American woman, the widow of a Detroit police commander and mother of 13 children. She did not go as far as Donald Trump, who called Harris a “monster,” but my mother told me in confidential tones that Harris only married two years ago. She meant to a man.
For the record Harris married Douglas Emhoff six years ago.
I suppose my mother’s comment was a shy way for a Greatest Generation woman to ask, is she a lesbian? The 21st century response is, who cares? Sex with a man is not a qualification for vice president of the United States. Maybe because the founding fathers of the U.S. did not think a woman would ever be VP.
But we have six days left to make it happen. Six days. God created a whole new world in six days.
Harris is one of us. She reminds me of my sister. The Honorable Paula G. Humphries was elected judge of the 36th District Court in Detroit at age 32 years, and she served for 27 years. My sister and Harris are serious attorneys.
Kamala Harris has the patience required of professional Black women to get ahead. “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking,” she said, her hand signaling him to pause his interruption. “I’m speaking.”
East Indian on her mother’s side, and Caribbean on her father’s side, she and I are different types of Black Americans. My enslaved ancestors picked cotton in Georgia, while hers chopped sugar cane in Jamaica.
That makes us part of the African Disapora, the spreading of Africans throughout the world via the African slave trade. This part of history gets an increasing amount of attention thanks to the pioneering efforts of the late Ruth Hamilton, who was a professor of sociology and of urban affairs at Michigan State University and the expert scholar in the field.
Kamala Harris is a fighter. In her book, “The Truths We Hold,” she shared how, as the new California attorney general, she faced down big Wall Street bankers who bundled mortgages into commodities to pay for their private jets. About how smart she had to be to get a fair money settlement for Californians who lost their homes in the housing crash of 2008. And how she had to be smart and patient winding through the politics to work with others on legislation to protect home owners in the future, and how they got it passed and signed into law.
There are some legitimate obstacles to not electing Harris vice president. The Republican Party sends campaign literature to my house every day to tell me about it. The weakness is at the top of the Democratic ticket. Joe Biden.
In 1994, he played an important role in the Democrats passing, and Bill Clinton signing, the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ law, with its mandatory life sentence for anyone who has been convicted of a felony three times.
Michigan’s long-time corrections director, the late Bob Brown, a Black man, said three strikes was bad public policy because the felon comes into the care of the government as an old man, just when his health care gets expensive, and his life is calming down.
But the three strikes law was mostly politics. It sent hundreds of thousands of Black men — each one a mother’s son — to prison for nonviolent crimes. Southern white supremist voters were happy with that law.
There are still six days left for voting. Make this Black woman and millions more, happy. Vote for Kamala Harris for vice president.
(Dedria Humphries Barker is a Lansing resident and the author of “Mother of Orphans: The True and Curious Story of Irish Alice, A Colored Man’s Widow.” Her opinion column appears on the last Wednesday of every month.)
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