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Why young black people like me are feeling let down by Kamala Harris

I’m a 26-year-old black New Yorker and I imagine in supporting what’s proper. That’s why I can’t be silent about Vice President Kamala Harris anymore. Along with 90 percent of black voters, I pulled the lever for Joe Biden in 2020, partly as a result of Harris was on the ticket, and I had excessive hopes for our first black, feminine vice chairman. But now they’re fading quick.

After the presidential election loads of black people and girls throughout the nation sang Harris’ praises. A graduate of Howard University, a Historically Black University, who spoke of rising up within the racially charged ’60s and ’70s, she appeared to be the right face for the White House in our Black Lives Matter age.

But now, Biden is reportedly sidelining Harris as a possible legal responsibility as her approval rankings plummet to a dismal 27.8 p.c — and I’m not stunned. First, she was tasked with overseeing the disaster on the US-Mexico border however didn’t journey there for months, and then flippantly shrugged off her absence, telling NBC’s Lester Holt: “And I haven’t been to Europe.” When she lastly bought to Europe this 12 months, she appeared to imitate a French accent whereas visiting scientists on the Pasteur Institute in Paris.

Worse, she appears to pay little consideration to minorities plagued by crime and anxious about security. My father is an nearly 70-year-old navy veteran who lives within the Bronx and shouldn’t should worry leaving his home amid crime in his neighborhood surging and felonies that concentrate on subway riders taking pictures up by 50 p.c.

But when Harris popped up within the Bronx final October, she talked not in regards to the points that the majority involved most locals, however Biden’s Build Back Better Act, “being better on climate” and supporting working households by infrastructure. A person within the Bronx all of a sudden stood up and shouted at Harris, and I’ve to say I couldn’t blame him.

Kamala Harris speaks about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and the Build Back Better Agenda at the Edenwald YMCA in the Bronx.
Kamala Harris was lately heckled whereas she spoke in regards to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and the Build Back Better Agenda on the Edenwald YMCA within the Bronx.
AFP through Getty Images

Many young black people like me really feel the identical about Harris proper now. Alajah Whitehead, 25, a rehabilitation aide from Yonkers, recalled the second when Harris referred to as Biden proper after they received the election: “She was talking about, ‘Joe, we did it.’ But we have not heard from her since. What did you do?” Tulleesha Burbage, 27, a Philadelphia social employee, put it extra bluntly, saying “I feel like… she should not run again.”

As a vocal advocate for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), I additionally really feel let down by Harris’ insurance policies towards these establishments.

Weeks earlier than the election, she said: “You will pay nothing for a four-year college or an HBCU” in the event you come from a house making lower than $125,000. Almost one 12 months later, the Biden-Harris administration is hedging on that pledge, saying it’ll “provide tuition subsidies to students who attend HBCUs with a family income below $125,000” and “provide free community college to students who attend one of the 11 HBCUs that are also community colleges.” That leaves out greater than 90 HBCUs, together with Harris’ alma mater. And it’s not what she promised.

Meanwhile, college students at Howard University in Washington DC have been protesting uncomfortable, unsanitary housing situations, claiming their dorms are infested with rodents, roaches and mould, which they’ve been begging the school administration to repair.

Even as a viral campaign raged on Twitter and college students took over and occupied the Blackburn University Center on Oct. 12, Harris remained silent. As Erin B. Logan, a employees author on the LA Times, noted, Harris “lives just three miles from the protests and used the campus as a backdrop to promote Democrats’ voting rights agenda.”

Students at Howard University in Washington DC have been protesting uncomfortable, unsanitary housing conditions, claiming their dorms are infested with rodents and mold.
Students at Howard University in Washington DC have been protesting uncomfortable, unsanitary housing situations, claiming their dorms are infested with rodents, roaches and mould.
Getty Images

Harris is meant to be an ally however has let us down, whereas on the similar time utilizing black college students and a black school as a backdrop for her progressive picture. After the previous 12 months, I might like it if the Democrats stopped attempting to make everybody who appears like me really feel like they should be a Democrat. Who would need to assist that celebration when the administration has failed? Under the Democrats, New York City has misplaced its means and so they haven’t lived as much as their promise — or guarantees.

Even Tasha Diaz, a Democratic councilwoman for Yonkers, admits she’s upset in Harris, telling me, “She gave everyone hope that things would change for the better and solutions would be put forth for unity, inclusion and transparency. We are awaiting her to be the vocal person we elected her to be.”

Diaz added that she “hopes that this upcoming year she will be the voice we need to make the changes needed to move forward.”

Sadly, I’m not so hopeful.

Dennis Richmond Jr. is a journalist and the writer of “He Spoke at My School: An Educational Journey.” He is the founding father of The New York-New Jersey HBCU Initiative. Follow him on social media @NewYorkStakz.

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