Kamala Harris: What do black voters make of the historic pick?

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image captionKamala Harris is back in the race for the White House. So what do voters think?

With three months left until election day in the US, California Senator Kamala Harris has already made history: her Jamaican and Indian roots make her the first woman of colour appointed to a presidential ticket by either of the two main American political parties. She is also just the fourth woman in the US to be on that ticket.

But while some applaud Ms Harris, 55, for her trailblazing political legacy, others are less impressed by her resume - particularly the tough-on-crime reputation she earned while serving as California's top prosecutor.

So what do voters think?

Eight months after her own presidential run was cut short, we talk to three young black voters about Senator Harris' second shot at the White House.

Peyton Forte, 21 - Graduate, North Carolina A&T State University

image captionHarris "was a safe choice", Peyton says. "She's not my pick".

To have a woman, the first black woman vice-president in American history - it looks good, it sounds good, but what can you do, she's not my pick.

Kamala is not my choice because I would have liked for [Democratic presidential candidate] Joe Biden to go with more of a progressive [candidate]. As a young black voter, I would have rather seen a progressive, I would have rather seen Elizabeth Warren, I would have rather seen Bernie Sanders.

Kamala doesn't shake the table enough for me in terms of her demands for things that I hold dear, such as universal healthcare, the total elimination of student debt, raising the minimum wage, and also her history as a prosecutor in California isn't necessarily a strong mark on her resume for me.

I think that we kind of get carried away by 'firsts', especially as black people, by the 'first this' and 'first that', it's just seen as a gigantic milestone.

But are you fighting for some of the values that the black community holds dear? Are you actually speaking to fellow black folks in the community about what they'd like to see and some of the policies that they would like to see implemented? I think that Kamala's proposed policies are not what the black community necessarily needs right now.

I'm not thrilled, but to me this was expected, it was a safe choice. Maybe in 2024, things will be different.

A'kayla Sellers, 21 - Student, the College of Charleston

image captionA’kayla Sellers, 21, says she's excited for what Harris can bring to the Democratic ticket

I'm very impressed that not only did [Biden] choose a woman but an African-American woman - that's exciting. I was going for Kamala at the beginning. I know her track record and I know her history with prison reform is a little bit tumultuous but I'm excited.

What attracted me to Kamala earlier on was that she was an African-American woman that worked from the ground up. She was relatable - and she was relatable to millennials, who are a big part of the voting bloc now.

I know a lot of African-Americans weren't fans of Harris, especially her prison reform stance. A big thing for her is that she really wanted to go for the African-American community and act like her policies were going to benefit us, but her track record didn't line up with her policy stances so it made a lot of people wary.

Still, she can bring awareness to black issues, she can bring awareness to needs of historically black colleges and universities, and awareness to the needs of minority students at predominately white institutions.

She can bring awareness to the needs of affordable education. It could be a lot of things that will able to affect not just the African-American community but the middle class as a whole. I can see a lot of great things coming from this.

KJ Kearney, 37 - Environmental justice advocate

image captionDemocratic voter KJ Kearney, 37, thinks Harris will help "centre" the issues that matter to African Americans

With Kamala as a vice-presidential nominee, it's 100% going to make the race more racially polarised. When [former US president Barack] Obama was campaigning they attacked [his wife] Michelle - and she wasn't even campaigning.

I can't imagine what it's going to be like for Senator Harris. They're going to find reasons to attack her but I think it's the job of those of us who are supportive to be very vocal on the other side and be a champion for her.

The environmental justice portion of me is not jumping for joy, but she's also not the worst on those issues. But in terms of the issues that matter to me as a black person I'm happy because I feel like we will finally have someone centre the issues that matter to me.

She will be able to talk to Biden as a black woman and have his ear and let him know how this is going to impact the black community. I hope that he listens to her.

I think this is going to be energizing to people on both sides, both Democrats and Republicans.

I do believe that she is one of the most qualified people to be vice-president but I'm also not naïve and I understand that at this moment in history, she makes Joe look good.

So, this is going to come down to key voters in swing states and whether or not Kamala can persuade them. When we say "is America ready?" What we're really saying "is white America ready?" I hope they are.

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