PHILADELPHIA — Kamala D. Harris spent Thursday making multiple stops in the Philadelphia area, meeting with small-business owners and courting voters of color, while emphasizing the urgency of this year’s election.
“Forty-seven days,” Harris told a small group of Black voters gathered in a backyard, referring to the time left before Election Day. “We’ve gotta get this done.”
Just after 11 a.m., Harris’s motorcade pulled up to a strip of businesses in the predominantly Black West Oak Lane neighborhood of Philadelphia. People lined the sidewalk outside the businesses she was scheduled to visit, holding their phones up as she walked with Rep. Dwight Evans (D) of Pennsylvania’s 3rd District.
Their first stop was at Paul Beale’s Florist, where Harris bumped elbows with owner Paulette Beale Harris (no relation).
“We’re just waiting for you to become vice president so we can stay here another 50 years because we’re not sure we’ll make it otherwise,” Beale Harris told the California senator.
As they moved down the street, Harris waved, held her hand to her heart, and bumped elbows and had brief conversations with several onlookers. Harris signed a copy of her book, “The Truths We Hold,” for a young girl and her brother, urging them to make sure “all your adults vote.”
One man, wearing a smock and with his hair still wrapped in plastic, appeared to leave a local barbershop midway through his appointment to catch Harris.
“Getting your hair done? I know that’s right,” Harris said, giving him an elbow bump.
Harris arrived at a private residence shortly before 1:30 p.m. for an event billed as the “Sister to Sister: Mobilizing in Action” conversation. She was greeted by dozens of onlookers on the street outside the home. They cheered when Harris got out of the limo. Some called out “H U” in a nod to Harris’s alma mater, Howard University.
Dancers from a nonprofit local dance group, PHILADANCO, greeted Harris, who danced and bobbed along with the music.
Beneath a large mural — emblazoned with slogans like “When Women Show Up We Win” and “Science Over Fiction” — Harris spoke about everything from the coronavirus pandemic to gun violence that disproportionately affects communities of color, and then took a wide range of questions from attendees. About a dozen attendees, socially distanced across the backyard, listened.
One attendee asked Harris what she and Joe Biden would have done if they had known in February about the dangers of the novel coronavirus, as President Trump has admitted he did before intentionally downplay it to the public. Harris said a Biden-Harris administration would implement a national testing standard and ensure that a vaccine, when safely developed, goes to communities that need it most — but also be forthcoming about the risks and sacrifices the nation needs to face.
“We would have let the folks know we are all in this together,” Harris said. “That’s something this president has never been able to understand about the strength of the nation … One way to pull the strength of the nation together in a moment of crisis is to remind people we’re all in it together.”
The group ended by chanting “47 days!” a reference to the remaining time before Election Day.
“Forty-seven days — we’ve got to get this thing done,” Harris told them.