VP Kamala Harris Calls Out States Attacking Both Abortion And Voting Rights At ESSENCE Festival


It only makes sense that the second most-powerful person in the world, who is also the most powerful Black woman in the world, Vice President Kamala Harris join the masses of Black women in attendance at ESSENCE Fest.

The fireside conversation included Emmy-winning actress–who also played a veep in Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP—Keke Palmer. 

Just a little over a week since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the two joined forces on the ESSENCE Wealth & Power stage, on Saturday evening to discuss the fragility of our constitutional rights, memes, and the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. 

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JULY 02: Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris appears onstage during the 2022 Essence Festival of Culture at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 2, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

The highly-anticipated talk was the largest audience the Vice President has addressed since the Court’s ruling last Friday officials said.

Palmer kicked off the discussion in front of a packed crowd sharing what the two had most in common: the luxury of being a viral meme. Palmer has been meme’d a number of times, but the Vice President’s “We did it Joe!” following the presidential win is among her favorites online.

Harris was all smiles as she explained that the candid moment was captured by her husband, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff right after a workout.

Palmer and Harris then addressed the large GOP elephant in the room: abortion rights. It couldn’t be lost on the two, that while at ESSENCE Fest in New Orleans, Louisiana, the state was one of the 13 “trigger ban” states that instantly banned all abortions once Roe was overturned. Meaning, while in the state of Louisiana, not even the Vice President of the United States had reproductive rights or autonomy over her own body.  

The vice president shared that she had learned of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade while she was in Aurora, Illinois with democratic Representative Lauren Underwood, to highlight maternal health care issues. 

Harris noted that Black women’s right to choose is literally a matter of life and death. She said “Black women are three times likely to die during childbirth, while Indigenous women are twice as likely to die during childbirth.” She also cited that the United States was among one of the worst nations globally for women’s maternal health.  

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JULY 02: (L-R) KeKe Palmer and Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris appear onstage during the 2022 Essence Festival of Culture at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 2, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

Palmer asked about those who are feeling apathetic about the constant regression after historic progessive moments like, both Obama’s and Harris’ inauguration and the recent confirmation of Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Harris told Palmer, “I did an analysis of the states that are attacking a woman’s right to choose and the states that are attacking voting rights, and there is an interesting intersection. At least 11 states are doing both at the same time.”

She paraphrased Civil Rights leader Coretta Scott King, stating the fight for civil rights must be fought and won with each generation.

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