Washington, Aug 20 (PTI) Kamala Harris, who scripted history in US politics as she became the first Indian-American and Black woman to get a major party's vice presidential nomination, has assailed President Donald Trump's 'failure of leadership' that has cost 'lives and livelihoods.' Introducing herself as the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants at the virtual Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, Harris, 55, fondly remembered her Chennai-born mother who she said taught her two daughters to 'be conscious and compassionate about the struggles of all people' and to believe that 'the fight for justice is a shared responsibility.' 'My mother taught me that service to others gives life purpose and meaning. And oh, how I wish she were here tonight but I know she's looking down on me from above,' she said in her acceptance speech.
Harris said probably her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, could have never imagined that 'I would be standing before you now speaking these words: I accept your nomination for Vice President of the United States of America.' 'She raised us to be proud, strong Black women. And she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage,' Harris said, emphasising her links to India.
'Family is my sister. Family is my best friend, my nieces and my godchildren. Family is my uncles, my aunts—my chitthis,' she said, referring to her relatives in Tamil Nadu.
Democratic Party's presidential candidate Joe Biden and Harris will challenge Trump and his Vice-President Mike Pence in the election on November 3.
Vowing to be the champion for the voiceless Americans who are struggling in the midst of an unprecedented coronavirus outbreak and the resultant economic crisis, the Senator from California said Biden would end the raging pandemic and build an economy that does not leave anyone behind.
Harris said she and former vice president Biden share '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.' 'Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods,' Harris said.
'We are a nation that is grieving - grieving the loss of life, the loss of jobs, a loss of certainty,' she said.
The US is the worst-hit nation in the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 170,000 people have died and more than 5,530,000 have been infected by the disease. The US economy has been hit badly leading to growing unemployment in the world's biggest economy.
She said that President Trump's policies have torn the nation apart as he forced the separation of families at the border, vilified immigrants, excoriated his political opponents and urged government officials to 'dominate' peaceful demonstrators in the streets after the death of Black American George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
Invoking the memory of Floyd's custodial death, Harris asked Americans to join her in combating racism and xenophobia.
'And let's be clear—there is no vaccine for racism. We've gotta do the work,' she said.
'We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better, and do the important work. A president who will bring all of us together—Black, White, Latino, Asian, Indigenous—to achieve the future we collectively want.
'We must elect Joe Biden,' Harris said.
Right now, we have a president who 'turns our tragedies into political weapons,' she said.
Biden will be a president who turns 'our challenges into purpose. Joe will bring us together to build an economy that doesn't leave anyone behind. Where a good-paying job is the floor, not the ceiling.
'Joe will bring us together to end this pandemic and make sure that we are prepared for the next one,' she said.
Harris said their administration will bring all Americans together to squarely face and dismantle racial injustice, furthering the work of generations.
'Joe and I believe that we can build that Beloved Community, one that is strong and decent, just and kind. One in which we all can see ourselves.
That's the vision that our parents and grandparents fought for,' she said.
'Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy. We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us, Harris said.
In the November 3 election, she said Americans have a chance to change the course of history. 'We're all in this fight. You, me, and Joe—together. What an awesome responsibility. What an awesome privilege.
'So, let's fight with conviction. Let's fight with hope. Let's fight with confidence in ourselves, and a commitment to each other. To the America we know is possible. The America, we love,' she added.
On Wednesday, former president Barack Obama launched a fierce attack on Trump at the convention.
Obama, who has largely refrained attacks on Trump since leaving office, accused him of treating the US presidency like 'one more reality show'.
He also said his Republican successor 'hasn't grown into the job because he can't'.
Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee and former secretary of state, also assailed Trump who thwarted her White House ambitions.
Speaking from her home in New York, she said: 'I wish Donald Trump had been a better president. But, sadly, he is who he is.' PTI LKJ NSA AKJ AKJ