By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Correspondent
That Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris announced her candidate for president on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is no coincidence.
For her supporters and those who know her well, Harris has long been a fighter for freedom, justice and equality and she’s often invoked the spirit of Dr. King in talking about the America’s needs today.
“I think we all know when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talked about the Dream, it wasn’t about being asleep,” Harris said during the recent Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference. “It was about being awake.”
On a day to honor King, and in a brief video from her campaign that was released on social media Monday morning while she appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Harris called on her supporters to join with her to “claim our future.”
“Justice. Decency. Equality. Freedom. Democracy. These aren’t just words. They’re the values we as Americans cherish. And they’re all on the line now,” Harris said in the video, teasing her official kickoff in her birthplace of Oakland next Sunday.
“The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values,” said Harris, the first African-American woman, and the third woman overall, to announce her candidacy for the 2020 election.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have also announced that they will run.
Harris said she’s running to “lift those voices, to bring our voices together.”
“On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) salutes the outstanding courage and leadership of Sen. Kamala Harris as she upholds and embodies the spirit and courage of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by announcing her candidacy for President of the United States,” said NNPA president and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.
NNPA Chair, and the editor and publisher of the Crusader newspapers in Chicago and Gary, Indiana, Dorothy R. Leavell, also applauded Harris’ announcement. “I am excited that Kamala Harris has entered the presidential race for 2020 and look forward to her mounting a vigorous campaign,” Leavell said.
“She is imminently qualified, having come through the ranks of politics in the Bay area and has served admirably in the United States Senate these last two years. Just last March (2018), under the leadership of Amelia Ward, who serves as Chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation and is the publisher of the San Francisco Sun Reporter, Harris was honored as our ‘Newsmaker of the Year,’” Leavell said.
“She has a close relationship with the Black Press and respects its commitment as an institution of the Black community. She is energetic, smart and works hard to be prepared for the duties she undertakes. We are certain that she will be a formidable candidate and wish her the best in the campaign.”
“It is quite appropriate that on the day that the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a fresh and vibrant new face announces her run for the Presidency,” said Rosetta Miller Perry, Publisher of the Tennessee Tribune Newspaper.
“California Senator Kamala Harris is everything the current holder of the office isn’t,” Perry continued.
“She is honest, a champion of equality and opportunity, and someone who will stand up and fight against the forces of hatred and bigotry. Her candidacy is a breath of fresh air in an environment spoiled by the toxic and incompetent individual whose administration is running the country.”
According to CNN, Harris’ campaign will be headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland – giving aides an East Coast hub in a racially diverse city that has struggled with wide income disparities – and Oakland, where Harris was born to immigrant parents who came to the US to advance their academic careers.
Harris chose to announce on Monday to honor the legacies of two of her heroes.
Forty-seven years ago, this week, Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to ever run for president, launched her campaign. And Dr. King has been a role model for Harris throughout her life as a result of what she views as his “aspirational fight for progress.”
Harris chose yellow and red for her campaign logo in a nod to Chisholm’s bid for president with its red and yellow campaign buttons, CNN reported.
Her signs will carry her campaign theme “Kamala Harris for the people,” the words that she spoke each time she rose in the courtroom as a prosecutor.
Meanwhile, Amelia Ward the NNPA Foundation Chair, who also counts as a personal friend of Harris, said her fellow Bay Area resident is a great choice to put the country back on solid footing.
“Senator Kamala Harris has long been a Champion for the people of the San Francisco Bay Area and the state of California. The Sun-Reporter has supported her since her successful run for San Francisco District Attorney in 2003, and also her campaigns for California Attorney General and U.S. Senator,” Ward said.
“As a junior Senator, Harris hit the ground running in Washington D.C. becoming an instant force and outspoken critic of President Trump and his regime. The NNPA – the Black Press of America – honored her last March when the organization’s Foundation awarded her our prestigious Newsmaker of the Year award,” she said.
“Now is the time for a national leader like Senator Harris to come forward to help save our country. I believe that now as a candidate for President of the United States, she has the opportunity to connect with Americans across this country and emerge as the people’s choice to put our country back on track.”