Sen. Kamala Harris had some time Sunday to do the Lord’s work and speak some major truths that more than just a couple of people (like President Twitter Fingers) probably needed to hear said out loud.
Talking at the 150th anniversary of the First Congregational Church in Atlanta, which is the second-oldest African-American Congregational church in the country, the Democratic junior senator from California focused on the need to speak the truth about our country and our values and to speak truth about the difficulties that we face.
“Our country is witnessing an assault on our deepest values. An assault on our commitment to equality, to fairness and to justice. So let’s speak truth,” Harris said in her remarks. “Let’s speak the truth that we have been reminded of too often over these past few months. Racism is real in this country. Sexism is real in this country. Homophobia is real in this country. Anti-Semitism is real in this country. Because unless we speak that truth, we will not confront it honestly. Let’s speak the truth that there is a systematic attempt to suppress the right to vote in America.”
Harris also took the time to address and defend the NFL protests against racial injustice, saying that those demonstrating to call attention to injustice should not be “threatened or bullied.”
“Let’s speak the truth that when Americans demand recognition that their lives matter, or kneel to call attention to justice, that that is an expression of free speech, protected by our Constitution, and they should not be threatened or bullied,” Harris said.
The Democratic senator then took on a more uplifting and hopeful note, insisting that another truth is that “although in our country today there are forces of hate and division trying to tear us apart, Americans have so much more in common than what separates us.”
Harris closed out her speech by reminding us all (including the saints in the back) exactly what “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the flag are supposed to stand for:
When we sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” we rightly think about brave men and women from all backgrounds who proudly defend the freedom of those they may never meet and people who will never know their names.
When we sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” we also think about those marching in the streets who demand that the ideals of that flag represent them too.
We think when we sing that song about the young immigrant who puts her hand over her heart and pledges allegiance to the only country she’s ever called home.
And we think about women like the women I recently visited at a California state prison. They were making American flags. The kind you see waving over the United States Capitol or down the street at the Georgia state capitol.
And that day, when I was looking at those women and talking with them, they were doing everything, by the way, from cutting the fabric to silk-screening, and pushing the paint through the stars and the stripes.
And I thought, “Yes, certainly they have made mistakes, but that’s their flag too.”
So let us be clear that when we talk about our patriotism and love of country, it is about understanding our commonality, it is about fighting for who we are, and most important, it is about fighting for what we can be.
Read Harris’ full remarks here.