Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president, promising she and Joe Biden will rejuvenate a country ravaged by a pandemic and riven by racial and partisan divides.
The California senator, the first black running mate for a major party, told the virtual Democratic National Convention of her mother instilling a vision of “our nation as a beloved community – where all are welcome, no matter what we look like, where we come from or who we love”.
She spoke of her Jamaican immigrant father and getting a “stroller’s eye view” of the civil rights movement as her parents protested in the streets in the 1960s.
She specifically noted her birth in Oakland’s Kaiser Hospital – perhaps a nod to the way President Donald Trump has stoked baseless and racist “birther” theories about Ms Harris’s vice presidential eligibility.
“There is no vaccine for racism,” she said. “We have got to do the work.”
Ms Harris addressed a party that has staked its future on bringing together a racially diverse coalition of voters.
She was preceded in the convention program by Barack Obama, meaning the nation’s first black president introduced the woman trying to be the first black person to hold the vice presidency.
Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons. Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purposeKamala Harris
Mr Obama said Ms Harris was an “ideal partner” for Mr Biden and was “more than prepared for the job”.
Ms Harris took aim at Mr Trump, something she is expected to do frequently as she campaigns with Mr Biden in the coming months.
She said: “Donald Trump’s failure has cost lives and livelihoods.
“Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons. Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose.”
Adrianne Shropshire, executive director of BlackPAC, which works to mobilise African American voters nationally, said Ms Harris’s speech carries special significance for women around the country that could resonate for years.