Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris made the rounds in Raleigh Monday as one of her first campaign stops since being picked as Joe Biden’s running mate in August. Harris made a point to speak to and with Black North Carolinians, first stopping by Shaw University, and rounding the night out with a roundtable at White’s Barber and Beauty Shop, a Black-owned southeast Raleigh shop that has been open more than 50 years.
Two attendees at the “Sister-to-Sister Meets Shop Talk” event in the evening pressed Harris for answers on how she and Joe Biden plan to address flaws in the criminal justice system, while others asked about her plans for improving racial equity across the country.
Harris only spent around 45 minutes at the barbershop, but she managed to cram in talking points about the Affordable Care Act and police brutality, and take a few jabs at Donald Trump.
“The perspective that Joe and I share is to acknowledge those racial disparities, and then address them,” Harris said of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and Brown communities. “And that’s about a plan that we have; by the way, Donald Trump has no plan. Let’s just start there. So it’s not like we’re contrasting plans, he just actually does not have a plan.”
This is not the first “Shop Talk” held in a Triangle barbershop. A handful of national campaign ads from the Biden campaign were shot at 360 Barbershop in Durham earlier in the year, and featured several Black male activists from the Triangle.
Many presidential candidates and their friends have floated through North Carolina recently, thanks to our status as a battleground state. Harris’s visit came days after Joe Biden made a campaign stop in Charlotte and President Donald Trump stopped in Winston-Salem. Lara Trump happened to be a few miles down the road in New Hill Monday night and had visited Wilmington the week prior.
Harris pointed out that North Carolina could be the state that flips the U.S. Senate to a Democratic majority.
“There is so much about what happens in North Carolina that is a bellwether, as a measure for what’s going on in our country, both in terms of its historical strengths, but also in terms of the challenges,” Harris said.
The California senator also stopped at Shaw University, the oldest HBCU in the state, and one of the oldest in the country. There, she focused primarily on Trump’s decision to nominate conservative lawyer Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in place of the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg, mentioning Barrett’s noted standings on the Affordable Care Act and abortion. She told listeners that Republican representatives are just trying to “jam this nomination through” to keep their power.
She also mentioned that days after the election, the Supreme Court is supposed to hear a case that could overturn the Affordable Care Act.
“This relentless obsession with overturning the Affordable Care Act is driven entirely by a blind rage toward President Obama, and it’s happening at a moment where our country is suffering through the ravages of a pandemic that has claimed more than 200,000 lives in our country,” Harris said of the potential effects of Trump’s appointment. “Complications from COVID-19 like lung scarring or heart damage could very well become the next preexisting condition.”
She also made a pit stop at Trophy Brewing, where she met co-owner David Meeker and Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. Baldwin said in a tweet that Harris was “authentic, a great listener and REAL.”
I had the opportunity to greet our next Vice President today at @Trophybrewing. She was authentic, a great listener and REAL. pic.twitter.com/OwGxWDDTnR
— Mary-Ann Baldwin (@maryannbaldwin) September 29, 2020
With just over 30 days before Election Day, this certainly won’t be the last North Carolinians see of the candidates as they try to win over the state’s independent voters.
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