On a recent Monday night, a buzzing crowd packed into The Riveter West LA for a rare chance to hear directly from a candidate for president. The energy was palpable, and the anticipation was real. The room erupted in cheers and fanfare as Senator Kamala Harris took the stage, and after a well-earned moment of basking in the love, Harris silenced the crowd with a moving pause to honor the prior weekend’s many victims of gun violence in El Paso and Dayton. The reverent pause was sobering and beautiful.
“We’re all here for many reasons, but one reason in particular: We love our country. And we’re prepared to fight for the best of what we are.”– Kamala Harris
Harris harnessed the moment: “So, we’re all here for many reasons, but one reason in particular: We love our country. And we’re prepared to fight for the best of what we are.” She continued, “This is an inflection moment for our country. This is a time requiring us to look in the mirror and ask a question: ‘What are we?’ We agree the answer is this: ‘We are better than this.’”
The stage was set for Harris to inspire, to pay off that inspiration with proposed policy plans, and to bring the audience into her vision for a better America. Harris spent nearly thirty minutes explaining her myriad policy proposals, from her plans to close the generational wealth gap, to address the vast implications of the student debt crisis, to criminal justice reform, and, finally, to address health care.
She even shared a tale about a line that she let slip out while at the end of a long campaign day: “Dude gotta go.” The crowd dissolved into laughter, cheers, and a long and raucous “Dude gotta go! Dude gotta go!”
The tone turned more sober as Senator Harris opened the floor to questions from the audience. She answered questions about low pay and support for caregivers working with Alzheimer’s patients (she’s committed to publicly funded research); about achieving gun reform despite TK resistance (“We keep fighting, we keep fighting”); and about her plan to solve this country’s student debt problem (which she addressed in the context of her larger plan to close the racial wealth gap).
The night closed with an ask of the audience to support Harris’ campaign and to help her keep the momentum going. There is a long way to go until Election Day 2020.