Kamala Harris’s Plan For A Network For Black Candidates – Your Black World

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By: Ryan Velez

In a recent NY Mag piece about Senator Kamala Harris, while making a visit to Spelman College, she shared a piece of advice she was given that means big things not just for her future, but for that of other black women: My mother used to tell me, ‘Kamala, you may be the first to do many things. Make sure you are not the last.’”

This is a clear reference to the back that Harris is the only currently black female senator, and only the second ever to do so. However, she has quietly been working on supporting a growing a        wide amount of young people of color running for office, many of them being women. “I do feel a responsibility. It’s about paying it forward: other people did it for me, and it’s kind of like, this is what you do. It’s not whimsical. It’s — literally, I feel — a duty.” However, for all of this work, this is one thing Harris does that she tends not to publicize.

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The final result? A group of young, diverse candidates that have a set loyalty to Harris, something that naturally creates thoughts to 2020 and her own political ambitions. One Democratic fundraiser who is fully supportive of a Harris 2020 campaign said he’d heard other fans speak of the group as an obvious political asset. However, Harris says that this is a cynical way to see things. For example, one of her mentees is London Breed, the current mayor of San Francisco.

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This, as well as Harris’s support of candidates like Marilyn Mosby in Baltimore and Ben Jealous in Maryland, is out in public. However, there are plenty of other people Harris has helped who are going under the radar. When Harris heard about Jahana Hayes, a Connecticut teacher running for Congress this year, the two connected over the phone multiple times, and then sat down to meet in Washington. “She was offering me advice just when I was kind of nervous in the beginning, about: ‘Do I have a message that people want to hear?’ And she said yes,” said Hayes.

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“I had gotten other endorsements from other people and other groups, but this one meant so much to me because there are only a handful of people who understand, who’ve done it,” said Hayes, who will be the first black Democrat elected to Congress from Connecticut if she wins next week.

Read more from NY Mag at: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/10/kamala-harris-is-building-a-network-for-black-candidates.html

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