Throughout the political history of America, the conventions have generally based their focus around the future of America, heavily relying on economic reform plans. However, in today’s climate, the candidates have steered towards a topic that many politicians in the past have indirectly addressed: civil rights. Civil rights has never stopped being an issue in America, but the events of 2020 coupled with the election have heightened awareness. Since the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, there have been protests from professional athletes, entertainment artists, politicians and citizens worldwide.

The 2020 Democratic Party’s nominee, Joe Biden, and running-mate, Kamala Harris, have used civil rights to catch the attention of the public and have used it as one of their main focal points. Biden and Harris allude to numerous historical civil rights leaders and  Congressman John Lewis, who died in late July of this year. During Biden’s speech, he addressed current social issues with disappointment, as he referenced quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. and Ella Baker. Biden also praised the Black Lives Matter Movement, a movement that Trump refers to as a “symbol of hate.” With Biden showing an abundance of support for minorities, and Kamala Harris being a woman of color, they both have strengthened their campaign in the eyes of the Democratic Party. Kamala Harris took the stage and began her speech with a heartwarming story about her parents and how her mother took care of her family while being a single parent. As she expressed her gratitude for making history in the world of politics, she shared her vision for America going forward. Biden and Harris’ plan includes reiterating Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beloved Community” by making the promise to welcome citizens of all kinds. 

Viewers also heard from former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. Former First Lady Michelle Obama touched on the condition of the social system- “Going high is the only thing that works, because when we go low — when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others — we just become part of the ugly noise that’s drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves. We degrade the very causes for which we fight.” Michelle Obama advocates for peace and taking the high road as minority communities to fight against a system formed against them. Throughout the week, speakers criticized Trump, calling out his failure as a president to unite his citizens. Each speaker addressedthis year’s vote with such urgency that the future of the social justice system is at stake. With the elections approaching in November, civil rights activists will be watching and observing the Biden-Harris campaign to see if their promises withstand. 

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