- California Sen. Kamala Harris officially launched her campaign for the 2020 presidential election with a massive rally in her hometown of Oakland, California, on Sunday.
- Thousands showed up to witness the first-term senator’s speech.
- She advocated for a reformed criminal justice system, immigration reform, and a solution to the gender pay gap, among other issues.
- Business Insider was on the scene. Here’s what it was like at the rally.
California Sen. Kamala Harris announced her candidacy for the 2020 presidential election on January 22.
On January 27, she officially launched her campaign with a rally in her hometown of Oakland, California.
Thousands gathered in downtown Oakland to hear the Democratic candidate speak.
The line to gain entry into the rally stretched down block…
… after block …
… after block.
Vendors sold merchandise branded with Harris’ name.
The senator’s slogan, For The People, stood out on these tote bags.
And there were handfuls of rally goers sporting these caps.
Some supporters came adorned in their own paraphernalia.
Becky Cecena (left), 68, and Julie Hartford, 57, travelled from the nearby town of Vacaville to witness Harris’ official announcement of her presidential candidacy.
“I think she’s so smart, and she won’t take crap,” Cecena said about Harris.
Hartford echoed that sentiment. “I think she actually is for the people, like she says,” she said. “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had someone in Washington who actually was?”
Eventually, attendees began pouring into the plaza outside Oakland City Hall.
Law enforcement estimated that about 10,000 people filled the rally space, with about 12,000 filling in the streets surrounding the Oakland City Hall.
People carried vibrantly coloured posters in support of Harris.
Crowds waited eagerly for the senator to emerge and deliver her speech.
Before Harris took the stage, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir sang the national anthem. SambaFunk, a Bay Area arts collective representing the African diaspora, also performed.
Female empowerment anthems like Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)” and Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire” blasted through the space.
Harris became the second-ever black woman to serve in the US Senate when she was elected in 2016.
Source: Business Insider
She’s also the first African-American woman to serve as San Francisco’s District Attorney.
She’s taken on a big role in the anti-Trump “Resistance” that has sprouted up in opposition to the current administration.
And she’s backed a number of progressive policies during her years serving in the Senate, like marijuana legalization.
Harris eventually emerged on stage at about 1:30 p.m.
She was met with thunderous applause and cheers from the audience.
Her speech was televised on-site for the masses who had gathered.
Many onlookers documented the occasion on their phones.
She immediately paid homage to her hometown of Oakland and her life-long goal of serving her community.
“My whole life I’ve only had one client: the people,” Harris said in her speech.
Harris professed her mission to repair what she sees as a broken criminal justice system.
She detailed her promise to provide Medicare for all Americans.
And she referenced her tax proposal that would deliver $US500 a month in tax credit to lower income families.
She also emphasised immigration reform, stressing the need to keep the country’s doors open to refugees.
Harris has 25 years of law enforcement experience under her belt, having served two terms as San Francisco’s district attorney and five years as California’s attorney general.
In her speech, Harris acknowledged that her presidential journey isn’t likely to be an easy one, but that her campaign’s persistence will be a great asset.
“We know what the doubters will say. It’s the same thing they have always said. They will say, it’s not your time … they will say it can’t be done,” Harris said. “But America’s story has always been written by those who can see what can be, unburdened by what has been.”
Harris will join several women, including fellow senator Elizabeth Warren, who have already announced their own bids for the 2020 presidential election.
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