Yesterday, Kamala Harris traveled to Milwaukee for Labor Day, where she held a private meeting with Jacob Blake’s family, toured an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Training Facility, and spoke with IBEW members and Wisconsin labor leadership about Joe Biden’s commitment to workers and organized labor. Harris also attended a “Build Back Better” roundtable with Black Milwaukee business owners.
IBEW Local 494 Business Manager Dean Warsh issued the following statement:
“The Milwaukee Electrical JATC was honored to welcome 2020 Vice President candidate Kamala Harris to our training facility. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been longtime proponents of organized labor. Kamala saw firsthand how the state-of-the-art training center provides a no-cost education to the region’s men and women who want to become electrical workers.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a long record of standing up for union members, and we believe it’s in the best interest of IBEW members to elect Joe president. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the best choice for the IBEW, because they have taken the time to listen to what our members have to say about the biggest challenges facing our country. Under the Biden-Harris ticket, IBEW members will always have a seat at the table in a Biden administration.”
At the “Build Back Better” roundtable with Black Milwaukee business owners, Senator Harris discussed how a Biden-Harris administration would advance racial equity as part of our nation’s economic recovery. In her remarks, Harris spoke to the need to support Black business owners, who are among those who have been hit hardest by this crisis.
“Up to 90 percent of minority and women owned small businesses did not get the benefit of the PPP,” said Harris during the roundtable with Black Milwaukee business owners. “In large part because, you know, unlike how Donald Trump has been concerned about the wealthy, the people who are working every day and trying to raise their families don’t have the access to those kinds of relationships and have not received the benefit.”
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and co-counsels Patrick Salvi II and B’Ivory LaMarr, who are representing Jacob Blake, issued a statement on Harris’ visit:
“In a moving moment, Jacob Jr. told Sen. Harris that he was proud of her, and the senator told Jacob that she was also proud of him and how he is working through his pain. Jacob Jr. assured her that he was not going to give up on life for the sake of his children… She encouraged them to continue to use their voices even through their pain to help America make progress to end systemic racism.”
Harris, who made her first foray into a battleground state Monday since becoming Joe Biden’s running mate, said she wanted to express concern for Blake’s well-being and let family members know they have her support.
“I mean they’re an incredible family and what they’ve endured and they do it with such dignity and grace and you know they’re carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders,” Harris said about the meeting during a tour of an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers training facility in Wauwatosa.
Harris met privately with Blake’s father, sisters and members of his legal team at Signature Flight Support near Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. Both Harris and Biden have said that Officer Rusten Sheskey should be charged in the shooting that left Blake paralyzed.
Harris focused on entrepreneurship, meeting with Black leaders in Milwaukee including Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and JoAnne Sabir, who co-founded the Sherman Phoenix business hub for Black entrepreneurs. Harris said she wanted entrepreneurs in Milwaukee and across the country to know that investing in entrepreneurship and access to capital are priorities of the campaign.
“This is about an investment in not only in those specific communities but in our country, understanding that some of the greatest sources of wealth and intergenerational wealth come about through that kind of focus,” she said. Harris summarized her trip as about the dignity of work and dignity of human beings.
After the Black Business roundtable, Harris was greeted by local supporters, and encouraged Milwaukee voters to register to vote and vote early.
Harris was also greeted by local members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.