May 13, 2024 - Politics & Policy

"Kick that f**king door down," VP Harris says during AAPI event

Kamala Harris, right, sits during an interview panel. Behind the seats is a backdrop that says APAICS repeatedly.

Vice President Kamala Harris (right) speaks during a legislative summit interview hosted by the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies. Screenshot: The White House/Youtube

Drawing on her mother's experience as an immigrant, Vice President Kamala Harris Monday forcefully advocated for Asian American and Pacific Islander people to press for equality and economic opportunities.

The big picture: Harris, the first Asian American vice president, participated in an interview focused on success and leadership in that community.

  • "Sometimes people will open the door for you and leave it open," she said. "Sometimes they won't. And then you need to kick that f--king door down."

Driving the news: Harris led the conversation talking about her mother's experience as an Indian immigrant to the U.S., during a legislative summit hosted by the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.

  • "You have to fight for rights for everybody, and you have to be in the fight," Harris said. "You can't sit it out."
  • "You know how inequity happens," she added. "You know what happens when systems displace power or when systems are suppressing the rights of other people."

Zoom out: Last year, the Senate Democrats urged President Biden to nominate Julie Su as labor secretary to boost Asian American representation in his Cabinet.

  • She became the acting labor secretary in 2023 after serving as deputy secretary role since 2021.

What's next: Harris said the upcoming presidential election is voters' opportunity to decide: "What kind of country do we want to live in?"

Go deeper: Inside Kamala Harris' fast Arizona trip after abortion ruling

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