Prior to becoming vice president elect, Kamala Harris sat down with Portland Trailblazers guard CJ McCollum, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, and Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris to discuss several hot button issues surrounding social justice.
The conversation is part of a series created by McCollum called “ReMaking America.” Harris and the NBA players conversed about education, police brutality, and Black History.
Kamala commended the pro athletes for their dedication to fighting against social injustices.
“What [the NBA players] are doing in terms of the activism and the leadership and the organizing and the bully pulpit that you each have, it’s so powerful,” Kamala said. “What you guys have been doing, it’s everything about the expression, but it’s also about them helping people figure out where to go with this.”
McCollum, Tobias, and Mitchell expressed their passion for education. They mentioned how their teachers failed to inform them on Black history. Through his foundation, McCollum exposes youth to coding and the job opportunities that come with having those skills. Kamala expressed how voting determines the fate of education.
“[Joe] Biden is saying triple the funding for public schools in the lowest income communities,” Kamala said. “Elections when you think about the science that we need to have a president and leadership in the White House that knows that if a Black child has a black teacher by the end of the third grade, they’re 13% more likely to go to college.”
Having a mother who is a retired teacher, Mitchell knew how important education was. Her tutelage led him to use his voice during his time in the NBA Bubble.
“How can we continue to find ways to push education, educating Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians on each other’s history,” Mitchell said. “I’m 24 and there are people who are way older than me that don’t even know what Juneteenth is or Black Wall Street.”
Tobias realized that when he was growing up, being a sensational basketball player might have sheltered him from certain harsh realities that others went through.
“It was sugar coated for me,” Tobias said. “I had an experience, but my experience wasn’t what someone else’s experience was and I think you have to learn from that, have the sympathy for others’ experiences.”
McCollum emphasized Tobias’ idea of having actionable items to create change. The panelists remind people to stay encouraged when it comes to voting.
“The reasons why we’re here is to have those types of conversations to drive education to the masses because a lot of times people don’t feel like they can create change,” McCollum said. “The ground work is being laid right now from generations that have come before them to continue to bring about change.”
Not getting the desired outcome in the Breonna Taylor verdict was hard for Tobias.
“It made myself personally feel like ‘Man, we’re bringing all this type of attention and we get a bad result.’” Tobias said. “A lot of it doesn’t sit well with myself, my family members.”
Kamala knew how important it is for leaders of this country to speak truth to police violence.
“There’s this phrase that it’s often used and the phrase is consequence and accountability,” she said. “There needs to be consequences and accountability.”