In front of thousands of people in her hometown of Oakland, Calif., Harris, 54, said that America is at an "infliction point" in history that will determine the future of the nation.
"We are here because the American dream and our American democracy are under attack and on the line like never before. We are here at this moment because we must answer a fundamental question: Who are we? Who are we as Americans?" She asked.
The values of America are not present in leaders who bully and attack democratic institutions, in white supremacists who march and murder civilians or in children crying in cages for their parents who've they've been taken from, she said, referencing President Donald Trump's administration's hostility towards the press, the 2017 murder of a woman in Charlottesville during a white supremacist rally and the separation of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
"That is not our America," she said.
The former San Francisco district attorney told the crowd out front of Oakland City Hall that Americans need to speak truthfully with one another about the realities of their country, and acknowledge that racism persists, transphobia is real and that the Trump administration is harming the country at home and abroad.
"Under this administration, American's position in the world has never been weaker" with "foreign powers infecting the Whitehouse like malware," she said to cheers from the crowd.
She said that while powerful forces are trying to sow division, the American people must not forget they have more in common with one another than what separates them.
During her speech she also listed universal healthcare, debt-free pre-kindergarten and university education and massive tax cuts for lower- and middle-class families as some of the policies fundamental to her campaign.
"I will fight for an America where we keep our word, and where we honor our promises, because that is our America. And that is the America I believe in," she said.
Harris, who was elected to the Senate in 2016, announced her run for presidency on Martin Luther King Jr. Day last week through social media with a video stating she is running to fight for American values.
With her announcement to run for president, Harris became the fourth Democratic woman and the third female U.S. senator to announce her candidacy for her party's nomination.
The presidential election is currently set for Nov. 3, 2020.