Vice President Kamala Harris met with a group of religious leaders virtually and in-person amid the current season of religious holidays, hoping to exchange ideas on encouraging Americans to receive their coronavirus vaccinations, combating hate crimes and other issues.
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“I want to talk with you about your thoughts about how we can, and you in particular as our faith based leaders, can help us to make sure that everyone, when it is their turn, gets a vaccine,” Harris said.
Americans are broadly supportive of President Joe Biden’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and approval of his stewardship of the economy has ticked up following passage of a sprawling $1.9 trillion relief bill.
Harris also sought an exchange of views on combating hate crimes.
Early Wednesday, a parolee convicted of killing his mother nearly two decades ago was arrested on assault and hate crime charges in an attack on an Asian American woman in New York City.
The attack is among the latest in a national spike in anti-Asian hate crimes.
“What we are seeing around people turning on each other, treating their fellow human being as the other,” Harris said.
“And what we have the ability to do to see this moment of crisis in that regard as also an opportunity for coalition building,” she said.
Harris is leading the Biden administration efforts to deal with the surge of unaccompanied young migrants at America’s southern border, and Harris said she wanted to talk to the religious leaders about that issue, as well.
Finally, she wanted to exchange views on voting rights in the face of proposals in Republican-controlled states to create new restrictions on mail-in voting, drop boxes, and balloting procedures.