Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
1:26 P.M. EST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Good afternoon. Please have a seat. Good afternoon.
AUDIENCE: Good afternoon.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Bishop Green — (laughs) — my Lord. (Laughter and applause.) He was in here talking about Houston. (Laughs.) (Applause.)
Well, it is my joy and honor to be with everyone.
Bishop Green, thank you so very much for that introduction. It was so — it — it — it meant so much to me. It meant so much to me. And it is, of course, good to see you again. And I want to thank you for your friendship, for your leadership, and for your sage counsel.
And to everyone here, good afternoon. It is good to see all of the friends, the sisters, the brothers, everyone.
And it’s, of course, very good to be back in South Carolina. So — (applause) — thank you, everyone.
And — and especially I want to also thank Supervisor Green and Supervisor Grady and Supervisor Young and all of the leaders of the Women’s Missionary Society of the 7th Episcopal District — thank you — including the 75 Life Members. (Applause.) Yes.
So, thank you, everyone, for the warm welcome today and for the work that you each do every day for our nation.
So, my pastor, Reverend Dr. Amos C. Brown, often says that, “As people of faith, we are called to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.”
Every day, the leaders of this Women’s Missionary Society live the truth of those words. And standing with you, then, I feel very much at home.
As many of you know, I was born in Oakland, California. And growing up, attending 23rd Avenue Church of God, my sister, Maya, and I went to Sunday school and we sang in the choir and we gathered with friends and family in the basement of our church to eat food prepared by loving hands.
And as we all discussed at your Quadrennial Convention last August in Florida, for me and for so many of us, church is a place where we renew and share our faith.
And as it says in Luke Chapter 1, Verse 79, “Faith has the power to shine a light on those living in darkness and to guide our feet in the path of peace.”
In moments such as this, when we as a nation witness so much hate, conflict, and attempts to divide, it is our faith that often guides us forward: faith in what we cannot see yet know to be true; faith in the promise of our nation — freedom, liberty, and equality — not for some, but for all. (Applause.)
And for generations, members of this church have led the fight to make real America’s promise — great Americans like Sarah Allen, Denmark Vesey, Rosa Parks, and, of course, Congressman Jim Clyburn. (Applause.)
And so, to the sons and daughters of Richard and Sarah Allen, as Vice President of the United States, I say this: Your history is America’s history. And together, then, we share a vision for America’s future: a future where every person has the full measure of freedom and liberty.
And so, together we have been working toward building that brighter future.
In 2020, at the height of an historic pandemic, in the midst of so much loss and uncertainty, you showed up to vote. And you organized your friends and family members and neighbors to do the same.
And it is because of you that Joe Biden is President of the United States and I am the first Black woman to be Vice President of the United States. (Applause.)
And so, I am here, of course, to say thank you for your work and your leadership and your vision for what is possible for our nation.
In 2020, you said, for example, “We need to do something about the issue of high-speed Internet,” especially for our rural communities, many of which I have visited here in South Carolina.
From the Upstate to the Midlands, from the Pee Dee to Lowcountry, you talked with me about what it means to not have access to the Internet and that students have to go to the public library just to submit their homework on Wi-Fi.
And because you organized and because you voted in 2020, we are now connecting every family in South Carolina and across our nation with high-speed Internet. (Applause.)
Because you voted and organized in 2020, we are removing every lead pipe in our nation, which will benefit hundreds of thousands of people in South Carolina, including generations of our children. (Applause.)
And many of the leaders here talked with me during those years about how our babies are drinking toxic water from those lead pipes. And while we may not be a medical doctor, it doesn’t take a medical doctor to understand the impact of that on the health of our children and their learning ability.
And, again, because you organized and because you refused to have your voices ignored or silenced, we were able to do something about it.
Because you organized and voted, we were able to invest more than $7 billion in our HBCUs — (applause) — I say as a proud HBCU graduate and the first president — or vice president has ever — no president or vice president has ever been a graduate of an HBCU before now. (Laughs.) (Applause.)
And, of course, that work was to the benefit of so many of our young, beautiful leaders, including the thousands of students at Allen University and South Carolina State — (applause) — that’s right — which, like all of our HBCUs, are centers of academic excellence.
Because you voted and organized in 2020, as Vice President, I then was able to confront the issue of Black maternal mortality and bring that issue, which has long, long — for generations — plagued our community — and to bring it to the stage of the White House.
I was then able to challenge the states to expand Medicaid coverage for postpartum care from 2 months to 12 months. (Applause.) And now, instead of, when I started, only 3 states, as a result of my call, I am pleased to report 42 states now offer women — (applause) — a full year of postpartum coverage, including the women here in South Carolina.
Because you voted and organized in 2020, President Biden and I have appointed more Black women judges than any administration in history — (applause) — including the first Black woman to ever sit on the highest court in her — our land. Her name is Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. (Applause.)
And I go through that list as a short list of — a variation of a longer list to say: Elections matter; leadership matters; and it makes a difference in the lives of people who, for the most part, many of us may never meet, who, for the most part, may never know our names. But because of your leadership, their lives are forever impacted.
Because of your faith in the promise of America, we, together, can move our country forward.
But understand, while we fight for progress, there are those who are trying to pull us backward. In this moment, we are witnessing a full-on attack on hard-fought, hard-won freedoms and rights.
Just consider: In states across our nation, extremists attack the freedom to vote. They have the gall to pass laws to ban drop boxes, to limit early voting, to make it illegal to offer food and water to people who stand in line for hours simply to exercise their civic duty and right.
To the elders, I say: You know, whatever happened to “love thy neighbor”? The hypocrisy abounds.
In states across our nation, extremists pass laws that criminalize doctors and punish women who seek basic reproductive healthcare.
And I know we all here agree: One does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree that the government should not be telling her what to do with her body. (Applause.)
In this moment, we see extremists ban books and attempt to erase, overlook, and even rewrite the dark parts of America’s history. For example, the Civil War, which must I really have to say was about slavery? (Applause.)
And all of this, by the way, while they stand by and refuse to pass reasonable gun safety laws to keep our children and places of worship safe. (Applause.)
And let us not ever stop fighting to address the epidemic of gun violence in honor of the memory of Reverend Pinckney and all those we have lost. (Applause.)
So, I would offer this: In order to — to see visually what is at stake in this moment, let’s pull up a split screen. On the one side, they want to ban books. On the other side, we want to ban assault weapons. (Applause.)
They think government should tell a woman what to do with her body. We trust women to know what is in their own best interest — (applause) — and women trust us to protect their fundamental freedoms.
We fight to protect the sacred freedom to vote, while they try to silence the voice of the people.
And as Bishop said, just remember where we all were. I ask you to remember where you were three years ago today, January 6th, 2021 — (applause) — when a mob violently attacked the United States Capitol. They used brutal force and fear to try and overturn the results of a free and fair election. (Applause.) They tried to overrule the votes of millions of Americans.
On that day, we saw violence, chaos, and lawlessness. But some so-called leaders still try to mislead and gaslight by claiming it was a peaceful protest — can you imagine? — like we weren’t watching. (Laughter.)
These extremist leaders say that the group was led by, quote, “great patriots.” Let’s pay attention. Is that how you define who loves our country?
On January 6th, we were reminded that even though, yes, we have come a mighty long way, we still have far to go and we still have work to do. (Applause.)
And I believe that there is a duality to the nature of democracy — to its nature.
On the one hand, when a democracy is intact, it is extremely strong in terms of what it does and the strength that it gives its people in the protection and preservation of individual rights, freedoms, and liberty. Incredibly strong.
And it is, on the other hand, extremely fragile. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it.
So, to the sons and daughters of Richard and Sarah Allen: In this moment, our nation, once again, needs your leadership, as you have done for generations, to defend our most sacred ideals, to continue to organize, energize, and make your voices heard.
And at this moment in history, I say: Let us not throw up our hands when it’s time to roll up our sleeves. (Applause.) Because we were born for a time such as this. (Applause.)
And we love our country. We believe in the principles upon which we were founded. And guided by our faith, we are prepared to fight for all that we know is right and hold dear.
And I know that when we fight, we win.
God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
END 1:44 P.M. EST
Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2024/01/06/remarks-by-vice-president-harris-at-the-annual-retreat-of-the-womens-missionary-society-of-the-7th-episcopal-district-of-the-african-methodist-episcopal-church-myrtle-beach-sc/
The post Remarks by Vice President Harris at the Annual Retreat of the Women’s Missionary Society of the 7th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church | Myrtle Beach, SC first appeared on Social Gov.