Young students react to Kamala Harris as Joe Biden's running mate

Darla Miles Image
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Students react to Kamala Harris as Biden's running mate
Eyewitness News has reaction from young students and professionals on Joe Biden's pick of Kamala Harris for running mate.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Kamala Harris made history as the first Black and South Asian American woman to be a vice presidential running mate on a major-party ticket.

But what do younger generations think of the choice? Eyewitness News has their reaction.

When asked if the Biden, Harris ticket spoke to one student and her generation, she said no.

"I wouldn't say it speaks to me," one student said. "The two of them on a ticket pushes a ticket I might not agree with and that is that perception of law and order."

But some students disagree.

RELATED | Pres. Trump, politicians react to Joe Biden's VP pick Sen. Kamala Harris

"At the end of the day Kamala is the one I would want as Vice President, especially during a crisis," said Charlie Selbin, a rising junior at Riverdale Country School.

Olivia Lombardo, a rising senior at Staten Island Academy thinks Harris is a fighter.

"I've seen her since Kavannaugh, since Gorsuch. Testing Jeff Sessions, she was going at them," Lombardo said.

These pre-voting-age teens are active in the Civics Center's Future Voters week.

And young professional alumni from the Public Allies program are politically engaged, well informed and have a lot to unpack about the upcoming presidential election.

"I think in a lot of we take diversity for granted, we're so used to it," said Yana Gitelman, a rising senior at the Horace Mann School. "I learned about Obama the same I learned about the role of the president. So they were synonymous for me. Our generation didn't think of him as the first black president, we thought of him as the only president we'd ever really known."

"I think I expected Harris but I wanted to see Stacey Abrams," Lombardo said.

Graduate student Uthman Olowa feels like the choice is a bit like tokenism.

"Although I recognize the historic significance, it also feels like pandering, it also feels a bit like tokenism," Olowa said. "Almost feeling entitled to the black vote because we have a black woman on the ticket now."

Paralegal Kristen Grimes believes Harris is going to have an uphill battle.

"I truly don't know, it's going to take responsibility, I'm still going to be looking at you like you still want my vote," Grimes said.

For many younger students, Harris' history surrounding mass incarceration of people of color plays a factor.

"I'm not voting for either one," Olowa said. "This candidate, a long shot, most likely not going to win. I feel better voting for a candidate that I truly believe in, as opposed to what I did in 2016."

For some, it's an easy choice between voting for Joe Biden or President Donald Trump.

"I was going to rally behind who Biden picked, because they could be nowhere as near as detrimental to the country and democracy as Trump," Selbin said.

"Biden-Harris, I don't think, no one really expected Biden. But that's who we have now and we have get our youth motivated and ready to vote," Lombardo said.


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