Jamaicans in US embrace Kamala Harris as Biden’s VP pick

Jamaicans across the United States have enthusiastically embraced California Senator Kamala Harris, who was announced Tuesday as the running mate for Joe Biden — the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.

Harris, 55, the daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, becomes the first black woman and the first South Asian to be chosen for the position.

Reacting to Biden’s move, Sadie Campbell, president of the Jamaica Progressive League said it was “a wonderful choice”, adding: “I think she is going to do well.”

Campbell said she had predicted that Harris would return to the national stage when she dropped out of the race for president last year, and that she believed that her legal background should serve her and the country well, especially in regards to any reform of the criminal justice system.

Rick Nugent, who heads the Jamaica Association of Maryland, welcomed the selection and went on to say: “The fact that Harris is the daughter of immigrants is testimony that this country was, and continues to be built by immigrants,” he noted.

Harris and Biden yesterday made their first public appearance together since the announcement, both immediately attacking President Donald Trump mostly for his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harris hit back at Trump — who had greeted her VP pick with charge that she was “nasty and mean” — that he had inherited a thriving economy and “like everything else that he inherited, he has run into the ground”.

In welcoming news of the selection of Harris, Irwine Clare, leader of the Caribbean Immigration Services and Team Jamaica, said her selection was “both symbolic and historic”, and that she will inspire young girls.

The president of the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organisations (NAJASO), the umbrella body of Jamaican organisations across the US, Dr Joyce El-Ali, said: “Jamaicans are overwhelmed and elated at Harris’s elevation. I think she shares a lot of the concerns of the minority communities across the country.”

Meanwhile, Dr Rupert Francis, head of the Jamaica Diaspora Task Force on Crime, said Harris had broken a lot of barriers with her selection.

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