Remarks by Vice President Harris on the Florida State Board of Education Curriculum Updates

Ritz Theatre and Museum in Jacksonville, Florida.

As a role model, we have been admired and celebrated for the fact that when we enter those rooms, we discuss the importance of upholding democracies, the rule of law, and human rights. One of the defining characteristics of Americans is our ability to enter those rooms with earned authority, for the most part – although recently, sometimes – (laughs) – earned authority. As Vice President of the United States, I have now met with over 100 world leaders, including presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and kings. I can confidently say that we provide them with the necessary information to lead and believe that our nation is worth fighting for, especially for the children of America. True patriotism involves fighting for a nation that will continually improve for future generations. This is because we all share a deep love for our country and the responsibility to fight for its ideals. When I reflect on where we are today and the diverse community in front of me, I realize that we have many things in common. So, as Vice President of the United States of America, I am fully aware that my position is a result of an educational system that prioritized providing children with comprehensive information and encouraging critical thinking, allowing them to form their own conclusions and develop their leadership skills. Earlier, I shared with some teachers that my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Frances Wilson, attended my law school graduation. I am a product of a public school education. Now, let me begin by saying this: I chose to visit with you today because we believe in the people of Florida. We believe in you. We want to remind the people of Florida that they are not alone in their struggles. Our team and the President fully support you. When I heard the news about what happened here, I was traveling to meet with some individuals, and I want you to know that you are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone. And you are not alone. Florida has extraordinary leadership, including Jennifer and everyone else in the state. I want to acknowledge their exceptional leadership. First and foremost, I want to thank Jennifer. She, along with Congresswoman Cherfilus-McCormick, Ben Crump, Tracie Davis, Representative Angie Nixon, and Derrick Johnson from the NAACP, had the opportunity to have a discussion before I came out here. Please have a seat. Thank you. Thank you. (Laughs.) Good afternoon. Good afternoon. (Applause.) Good afternoon. Good afternoon. THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everyone. 4:03 P.M. EDT

(Applause.) Well, when you’re in the role of being a role model, what do you see people doing that matches what you watch?

Is the rest of the world aware of their own history when our children, who are in the room, are going to be unaware of their own history? Are we handicapping our children and sending them out without knowledge of their own history? It is important for the people we interact with around the world to have a clear understanding of our history. We must emphasize the importance of knowing history and understanding it when you are a leader. Leaders must also recognize the significance of speaking and telling the truth. In this regard, we want to ensure that we are sending our children out as role models of democracy. This is not just for the children of Florida and our nation, but potentially for people around the world. We need to understand the impact of this situation.

Consider this for a moment — the degrees of proportion.

(Applause.) And it is essential that we navigate towards a guiding principle, akin to a North Star, to fully comprehend our past, our journey thus far, and to be candid in that comprehension, recognizing our imperfections. Implicitly embedded in these words is the imperative to strive for a more flawless alliance. Implicitly embedded in these words is a fundamental aspect of the ethos that underpins our establishment as a democratic nation, encapsulated in the phrase “We the People…In order to form a more perfect union.” THE VICE PRESIDENT: Absolutely, ma’am. (Laughter.) Ben Crump. MR. CRUMP: Furthermore, let us not forget the opening statement of the United States Constitution. I firmly believe that our nation’s resilience has always stemmed from our unwavering dedication to pursuing our ideals, especially when I contemplate our current circumstances.

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In the year 2023, the leaders in Florida have dared to ban books. What is happening here, in this so-called extremist state, for months? (Applause.) There is a national agenda afoot; this is not only about the state of Florida, let’s make that clear. Because of this, I deeply concern what is happening here in Florida.

We are a nation guided by a belief in fairness, fighting for fairness, fighting for equality, and fighting for justice. We believe that by building a coalition of people who share these fundamental and foundational truths, we can create a more perfect union. Let’s think of this as an opportunity to build back the coalition of all people who believe in these principles. We may not know a lot about reverting bans, making decisions about a woman’s own body, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, and other attacks we see, but I have done an exercise of looking at Venn diagrams. Do I love Venn diagrams in the math teacher’s room? Any math teacher in the Venn diagram room? I have done an exercise of looking at Venn diagrams. Do I love Venn diagrams in the math teacher’s room? Any math teacher in the Venn diagram room? I have done an exercise of looking at Venn diagrams. Do I love Venn diagrams in the math teacher’s room? Any math teacher in the Venn diagram room? 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“First, numerous of us, Unum Pluribus E understand We. We possess the capability to emerge stronger and unite in our darkest times, as history has demonstrated. I will stay connected with this — I promise.”

That is our identity in this room. Out of numerous individuals, we are unified as one.

Native Americans were the ones who inhabited this land. Americans who were enslaved and forcibly taken were brought over on ships and kidnapped. Americans who came through Ellis Island arrived here.

(Applause.) Our history is born out of the triumph and tragedy of a nation, where we, knowing the struggles that have come from dedication and the strength in being stronger, understand what it means to be part of who we are.

Our past, in relation to all of this, would contradict the idea. Therefore, as the United States, our identity constitutes a portion of it.

Recollect if we recollect. We will be more powerful. We will be superior if we disregard. Let us not be tempted into thinking that in some way we will be superior.

We, who aspire to be reflective, certainly do not believe ourselves to be a country that was reflective. It was inhumane, (applause) a belief that slavery was a sin against man, and many who died and fought in that war, untold numbers of people died. A civil war. We fought a war to end the sin of slavery.

What were they opposing? What was the reason behind their fight? And why were they defeated, and whose lives were lost that would dare deny them? Who would then dare to deny this historical truth?

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So incredibly criminal it was because they were aware that it had to come to a close. (Applause.) This matter, individuals were — were going to be alright with, they believed because they weren’t engaging in conflict and losing their lives.

Hence, we possess knowledge about the historical backdrop, and it is imperative that we prevent these politicians, who seek to foster discord within our country, from achieving their goals.

Are we supposed to debate that? (Applause.) Are you kidding me? Whether slavery benefited the enslaved people is a debate that is unnecessary. These debates are creating unnecessary discussions, and that is what they are doing, as you can see.

Let’s not fall into the trap of creating unnecessary debates that divide our country, and let’s not be distracted by what they’re doing.

(Applause.) We are all together in this. It is our shared history; we know our collective history. We will stand united as a country.

We will not allow them to suggest anything other than what we know, which separates us from the vast majority of what we have. We know that as a nation, we rise or fall together.

Let us always stand for what is right when we fight.

May the Lord bless you. And may the Lord bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.)

END 4:27 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time.

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