Atlanta/ Politics & Govt
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Published on June 20, 2024
Vice President Kamala Harris Advocates for Gun Law Reform, Engages Young Voters in Repeat Visits to AtlantaSource: Wikipedia/The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

During a recent engagement in Atlanta, Vice President Kamala Harris focused on gun violence prevention and the engagement of young voters, marking her repeat visit to the city within a week. In a summit that coincided with what would have been Takeoff's, the late Migos rapper, 30th birthday, Harris offered her stance on the need for stricter gun laws. According to a report by WABE, Harris underscored initiatives such as making gun trafficking a federal offense, broadening background checks, and bolstering mental health services for the youth.

"You just might want to know—before someone can buy a lethal weapon—if they’ve been found to be a danger to themselves, others," the Vice President stated, stressing the relevance of background checks. Her remarks spoke to broader federal efforts to curb gun violence, an issue thrust into personal spotlight by the tragic death of Quavo's nephew, Takeoff, who was shot and killed in 2022. Harris’s return to Atlanta was also highlighted by her attendance at the 100 Black Men of America’s annual conference, where she touched on the administration's successes in economic policy.

Among these achievements, Harris proudly mentioned the forgiveness of about $170 billion in student loan debt. She brought a personal touch to politics by inviting beneficiaries to give testimony to the impact of these measures. "So I’ll start with student loan debt... anybody who has received student loan debt forgiveness, please testify," Harris was quoted by WABE. She emphasized the importance of dissemination, wanting people, particularly those of color, to understand how they could benefit from similar government programs.

Further citing advances like the exclusion of medical debt from credit scores, Harris also directed attention to a program supporting first-time home buyers and improving small business ownership accessibility, especially for formerly incarcerated individuals. For 19-year-old Jabari Mackey, these initiatives hit close to home, "With incarcerated people being able to start small businesses, it made me feel joy because it’s like my brothers can also make a difference," he told WABE. Mackey expressed how Harris's words seemed aimed directly at him, galvanizing his eagerness to participate in the electoral process.

Harris utilized both her Atlanta appearances to encourage the youth to vote. In her visit preceding Juneteenth, Harris reminded audiences of her role in establishing the day as a federal holiday and tied in the importance of voter registration. "I was proud when I was in the United States Senate to be one of the sponsors to make Juneteenth a federal holiday," remarked Harris, urging conversations within communities about the importance of registering to vote. With these consecutive events, the Vice President has amplified her focus on urgent social issues while rallying the youth of Atlanta to claim their voices in the democratic process, as per WABE report.