AME Church’s official statement on Kamala Harris

This is the Day that the Lord has Made: Council of Bishops Statement on the Selection of Senator Kamala Harris as the Presumptive Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee.

In May 2020, presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee, Joe Biden committed to adding a woman to his ticket. Throughout the summer, Biden has been encouraged to select a woman as a running mate and select an African American woman.

The servant leaders and members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church want to congratulate the presumptive 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate, Joe Biden, for making August 11, 2020, a liberating moment in the history of the United States. We are encouraged because of what the choice of Senator Kamala Harris as the presumptive Democratic nominee for Vice President for the United States means for the United States, its future, and the historic movement to redeem this country’s soul.

Senator Kamala Harris, one of the overly qualified women for this position, represents a pivotal moment, a power shift, in American political history. A power shift called for by Sojourner Truth when she challenged America’s political system of White Supremacy in her speech, “Ain’t I A Woman?”

The choice of Kamala Harris is also the fulfillment of the political power shift that Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm predicted in 1972. On June 4, 1972, Congresswoman Chisholm announced her intention to run to be the President of the USA. Her motive was: “To Change The Face And Future of American Politics.” Biden’s choice of Senator Harris has forever changed the face and future of 21st Century American politics. In the speech on today, she encouraged and reminded us that, “This is a moment of real consequence for America. Everything we care about, our economy, our health, our children, the kind of country we live in, it’s all on the line.”

Kamala Harris will be the first Black woman nominated to be the Vice President of the United States by a major political party. A graduate of Howard University, she will be the first graduate of an HBCU to be nominated for Vice President. An honorary member of Links, Inc., and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, she will be the first member of an historically African American sorority to be nominated for such a high political office. Kamala Harris’s life journey contains many firsts before this selection to be nominated. Remembering Langston Hughes’ poem “From Mother to Son,” we know that life for her has been “no crystal stair.”

While our denomination is politically non-partisan, we must recognize and be joyful that the power, presence, and productivity of Black women is now being recognized at the highest level of American and global politics. As a Christian movement that walked out of a church ruled by the spiritual practices of White Supremacy, we rejoice on this historic day of empowerment for Black Women, people of color, and all freedom-loving people.

Black Women are the backbone of the Black Church. Black Women are the backbone of politics in the Black Community. Our Black female ancestors like Jarena Lee, Harriet Tubman, Charlotte Manye Maxeke, Ida Wells Barnett, Rosa Parks, Ella Baker, and Barbara Jordan are rejoicing over the Kamala Harris’s nomination. Their male partners in the struggle, Richard Allen, Frederick Douglass, Henry McNeal Turner, Mangena Mokone, Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis, are rejoicing. Today, the living and the ancestors rise together and celebrate the joy and justice of this choice.

Finally, in the words of the Black Church Freedom Movement, we are determined that no one will steal our joy. President Trump will not take our joy on this historic day. Racist, White Supremacist, sexist attacks will not steal our joy, now or later. Voter Suppression, attempts to minimize the importance of voting by mail and the attempt to replace democracy with tyranny, will not steal our joy. This is the day of change; the Lord has made it; we will rejoice and be glad as the truth that makes us free keeps marching on.

As AMEs, we must now become mission-focused. That mission is clear – we need to exercise our right to vote to change the course of our nation’s history. Just as prayer is a vital tool for the believer, voting is a crucial act in the democratic process. Let us make it our goal to make sure that everyone we know VOTES on election day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020!

In Joy and Justice,

Bishop Michael L. Mitchell, President of the Council of Bishops
Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Jr., Senior Bishop
Bishop Wilfred J. Messiah, President of the General Board
Bishop Frank Madison Reid, III, Chair of the Commission on Social Action