On Tuesday, Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris posted a video to her Twitter account where she sat down with three NBA basketball stars for a round table discussion about the upcoming November election.
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers, and Tobias Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers spoke with Harris on various issues. The group came together in an airplane hangar to talk while wearing masks and sitting at socially distanced intervals. The foursome touched on multiple topics while focusing on the most important issues pertaining to the Black community for the upcoming election. All four implored the Black community to get out and vote while stressing the importance of doing so.
Mitchell started things off by speaking about his time in the NBA Bubble. During his time there, Mitchell and many others helped spearhead a push from the league to get information out to voters and educate people on the importance of their vote.
“No voice is too little, and I think the great thing about the league is we were making a huge push to go out and vote, focusing on education, finding ways to at least inform and give back to the community,” explained Mitchell. “My mom being a teacher, she’s instilled that in me. But that was really one of the biggest things for me coming into the bubble. The play was going to take care of itself, but I wanted to be able to give back that knowledge. That’s really what carries and goes a long way.”
Harris Details the Importance of Voting for People of Color
Next, McCollum asked Harris to explain why voting is so important for the upcoming election as it pertains to people of color.
“There’s so much at stake in this election,” Harris says to the group. “And I think about it in three different ways, all of which are at play.”
Harris tells the story of walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL before the COVID-19 pandemic. She joined civil rights leader John Lewis on the walk before he passed away. She talks about Lewis and others shedding blood on that same bridge in 1965. Lewis and other activists were beaten and arrested as they marched for their right to vote. Harris says, in one way, she thinks about the importance of voting as honoring their ancestors who fought so hard for their right to vote.
What’s at Stake in the Upcoming Election?
The California senator also referenced the high-stakes outcomes of civil rights issues as another reason why casting a vote is so crucial this year.
“Let’s just look at the upcoming election. What is at stake? The United States Supreme Court – who sits on that court matters,” Harris explains. “If it’s Donald Trump versus Joe Biden making a decision about who sits on that court, it’s going to have everything to do with almost every civil rights issue you can imagine that will go before that court.”
Finally, Harris’ third point on the importance of voting focuses on voter protection. She speaks about changes to the Voting Rights Act in 2013 and said the Supreme Court “gutted” the legislation.
“In 2013, the United States Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. Right after they got rid of these protections, all these states ended up putting in place laws that were designed to prevent Black folks from voting,” said Harris. “… Why do you think so many powerful people are trying to make it so difficult for us to vote? And you know what the answer is: Cause they know when we vote, things change. Don’t let anybody take your power. That’s our power, so let’s not let them play us.”
As the conversation continued, it veered towards the social unrest around the country following police-related deaths of Black Americans. The deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WS made waves and spurred protests across the nation. The group went on to discuss their shock and dismay in the cases. It was a huge reason the NBA went on strike in late August to protest and bring awareness to issues of social injustice and police brutality.
You can watch the entire discussion below.