As the nation navigates a time of uncertainty and unrest, more people are looking to their faith to renew their hope and strengthen their resolve. This week Vice President Kamala Harris met with leaders of various faith groups, connecting on matters of reproductive rights and gun violence, calling on them to help “bring healing and hope and a sense of community to all people.”
For Black Americans, the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York where an 18-year-old domestic terrorist took the lives of ten Black community members, served as yet another reminder that white supremacy is alive and thriving in the United States. Weeks later, the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas reignited calls for stricter gun laws. Vice President Harris attributed the former incident to what she calls an “epidemic of hate.”
“We have seen so many communities who are being targeted—individuals who are being targeted simply because of who they are,” Harris said.
In California for the Summit of the Americas, Harris is keen on addressing a matter she often grappled with during her time as the District Attorney of San Francisco and the Attorney General of California. Last April the vice president, at a press conference on gun control, said, “Over the course of my career, I have seen gun violence up close. I have looked at autopsy photographs. I have seen with my own two eyes what a bullet can do to the human body. I have held hands with the hands of parents who have lost a child. I have seen children who were traumatized by the loss of a parent or sibling. And I have fought my entire career to end this violence and to pass reasonable gun safety laws.”
This year, the United States has seen more than 240 mass shootings, on pace with 2021—the year with the highest incidents of mass shootings in modern history. With summer approaching, the problem is likely to get worse. “And so, I do believe—and I, my entire life, believed this—but I think we, collectively, know, in particular now: We need faith. We need faith,” Harris said during the roundtable. “I know that no matter the differences among us in a society, there’s so much more in common than what separates us. And I think most people, regardless of who they are, would agree.”
Before ending her remarks, Harris thanked the community faith leaders for their ongoing work in keeping their congregations and communities uplifted during these challenging times. “You all, as our faith leaders, have done extraordinary work, in particular of these last few years, to remind folks that they are not alone, that we are in this together, that there is a higher purpose, and that we should be guided by all that we know,” Harris said. “That gives us a chance of shining a light in the midst of dark moments and dark days.”