Vice President Kamala Harris to Alpha Kappa Alpha crowd in Dallas: 'When we vote, we make history'

Vice President Kamala Harris made a stop in Dallas on Wednesday for a sorority convention.

The vice president spoke to a crowd of about 20,000 at the national convention of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the nation's first historically Black Greek organization.

The vice president talked about keeping President Joe Biden in the White House, despite speculation and criticism about his health. Her appeal leaned heavily on their sisterhood.

Harris pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha in 1986 when she was an undergraduate student at Howard University.

The sorority's 71st Boulé is being held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

"In this moment, again, our nation is counting on the leaders of this room to guide us forward to energize, mobilize, to register folks to vote and to get them to the polls in November," she told the crowd.

The speech comes at a turbulent time in the Democratic Party with some in the party calling for President Joe Biden to end his reelection campaign.

READ MORE: List of top Democrats who have called on Biden to exit race

Harris' name has come up as a possible presidential nominee for the Democrats if President Biden does step aside.

On Wednesday morning, Harris talked about the achievements of the Biden administration and tried to leave the crowd with some inspiring words.

"When we vote, we make history," she said. "The members of our sorority have been on the front lines of the fight to realize the promise of America. This year let us continue that work."

As Harris left the stage, the crowd chanted, "four more years!"

One of Harris' assignments for the Biden administration has been to help secure support for the Democratic ticket among Black and Hispanic voters.

SMU political scientist Cal Jillson says it's a voting block that at one time was extremely loyal to the Democratic Party, but there has been erosion.

"Most people think it has a lot to do with sort of nostalgia for the Trump economy, which was pretty good, in the first three years, collapsed under COVID. It's just as good under Biden, except for the inflation, so those Black men and Hispanic men have a little bit of nostalgia that may be misplaced," said Jillson.

SMU Political scientist Matthew Wilson says the support of Black voters is equally important if President Biden should decide to step aside.

"It would be critically important in elevating Kamala Harris to the top of the ticket over other prospective rivals, particularly white rivals within the Democratic Party," he said.

The vice president did not address speculation about Mr. Biden's future, but sorority members have their opinions.

Ada Hamlette is one of thousands of the AKA sisters who attended Harris' speech. Her support for Biden remains strong.

"Our thoughts about President Biden haven't changed, despite what the media and people are saying," she said. "We still believe in him and trust him to be our president for the next four years."

Marsha Watson believes in Biden too.

"Ageism is real. I am 52 years old. We cannot judge someone based on their age," she said. "So we have a strong unit with Biden and Harris together."

"The Black vote is absolutely indispensable for Democratic candidate," Wilson said. "And that's why all of this outreach to African American groups is critically important for the Democrats."

Wilson says Donald Trump has made inroads into African American communities. 


Trump's conviction made 62 percent of Texas Republicans more likely to vote for him, poll shows

A new poll shows that Republican candidates are in the lead in two of Texas' highest profile races this November.

According to all the polls among Black voters, Mr. Trump is running better than Republicans have in the past. 

However, Trump’s gains have been primarily concentrated among Black men. Black women remain a very solidly Democratic constituency.

The stop in Dallas is one of several on the Vice President's "Summer of Engagement" tour.