Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Sen. Kamala Harris said the nation is at an "inflection point" as she accepted the nomination to be the Democratic candidate for vice president at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night.
Harris, the first Black and South Asian woman to be on a major party ticket, delivered a speech recognizing her mother's role in her political career while also stating that President Donald Trump's "failure of leadership" has cost lives and livelihoods, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We've got to do the work to fulfill that promise of equal justice under law. Because none of us are free until all of us are free," she said. "We're at an inflection point. The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone."
Harris noted that Black, Latino and Indigenous people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.
"This is not a coincidence. It is the effect of structural racism. Of inequities in education and technology, healthcare and housing, job security and transportation. The injustice in reproductive and maternal healthcare. In the excessive use of force by police and in our broader criminal justice system," she said. "This virus has no eyes and yet it knows exactly how we see each other and how we treat each other. And let's be clear -- there is no vaccine for racism. We've got to do the work."
She went on to declare that the United States must elect former Vice President Joe Biden, who is set to accept the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday. He will face Republican Trump in the Nov. 3 election.
"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," she said.
Moments from the virtual Democratic National Convention
"Over eight years, Joe was the last one in the room whenever I faced a big decision. He made me a better president. He's got the character and experience to make us a better country," Obama said.
He also condemned Trump for not taking the job of president seriously.
"He's shown no interest in putting in the work, no interest in finding common ground, no interest in using the awesome power to help anyone but himself and his friends, no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves," Obama said of Trump.
Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in the 2016 election, recalled during her speech that after the election she told the nation Trump was owed "an open mind and a chance to lead."
"I wish Donald Trump had been a better president. But, sadly, he is who he is," she said. "America needs a president who shows the same compassion, determination and leadership in the White House that we see in our communities."
She also stressed the importance of voting, reminding viewers she won the popular vote in 2016.
"This can't be another woulda-coulda-shoulda-election," Clinton said. "If you're voting by mail, request your ballot now and send it back as soon as you can. If you vote in person, do it early. Bring a friend and wear a mask. Become a poll worker."
Wednesday's program also featured testimony from climate activists and climate scientists who condemned Trump's denial of the climate crisis, Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez and 11-year-old Estela Juarez, whose mother was deported under Trump's administration.