It is truly an honor to be speaking with you. That I am here tonight is a testament to the dedication of generations before me. Women and men who believed so fiercely in the promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all.
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment. And we celebrate the women who fought for that right. Yet so many of the Black women who helped secure that victory were still prohibited from voting, long after its ratification.
But they were undeterred. Without fanfare or recognition, they organized, testified, rallied, marched, and fought—not just for their vote, but for a seat at the table. These women and the generations that followed worked to make democracy and opportunity real in the lives of all of us who followed. They paved the way for the trailblazing leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And these women inspired us to pick up the torch, and fight on.
Women like Mary Church Terrell and Mary McCleod Bethune. Fannie Lou Hamer and Diane Nash. Constance Baker Motley and Shirley Chisholm. We’re not often taught their stories. But as Americans, we all stand on their shoulders. …
My mother instilled in my sister, Maya, and me the values that would chart the course of our lives. She raised us to be proud, strong Black women. And she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage. She taught us to put family first—the family you’re born into and the family you choose. … And even as she taught us to keep our family at the center of our world, she also pushed us to see a world beyond ourselves. She taught us to be conscious and compassionate about the struggles of all people. To believe public service is a noble cause and the fight for justice is a shared responsibility. … My mother taught me that service to others gives life purpose and meaning.
[She] probably could have never imagined that I would be standing before you now speaking these words: I accept your nomination for Vice President of the United States of America. I do so, committed to the values she taught me.
To the Word that teaches me to walk by faith, and not by sight. And to a vision passed on through generations of Americans—one that Joe Biden shares. A vision of our nation as a Beloved Community—where all are welcome, no matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we love.
A country where we may not agree on every detail, but we are united by the fundamental belief that every human being is of infinite worth, deserving of compassion, dignity and respect. A country where we look out for one another, where we rise and fall as one, where we face our challenges, and celebrate our triumphs—together.
Today… that country feels distant. … The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot.
And here’s the thing: We can do better and deserve so much more. …we can build that Beloved Community, one that is strong and decent, just and kind. One in which we all can see ourselves. That’s the vision that our parents and grandparents fought for. The vision that made my own life possible. The vision that makes the American promise—for all its complexities and imperfections—a promise worth fighting for.
Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy. We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.
We believe that our country—all of us, will stand together for a better future. We already are. We see it in the doctors, the nurses, the home health care workers and the frontline workers who are risking their lives to save people they’ve never met. We see it in the teachers and truck drivers, the factory workers and farmers, the postal workers and the Poll workers, all putting their own safety on the line to help us get through this pandemic. And we see it in so many of you who are working, not just to get us through our current crises, but to somewhere better.
There’s something happening, all across the country.
It’s not about Joe or me. It’s about you. It’s about us. People of all ages and colors and creeds who are, yes, taking to the streets, and also persuading our family members, rallying our friends, organizing our neighbors, and getting out the vote. …
I’m inspired by a new generation of leadership. You are pushing us to realize the ideals of our nation, pushing us to live the values we share: decency and fairness, justice and love. You are the patriots who remind us that to love our country is to fight for the ideals of our country.
In this election, we have a chance to change the course of history. We’re all in this fight.
You, me, and Joe—together.
What an awesome responsibility. What an awesome privilege.
So, let’s fight with conviction. Let’s fight with hope. Let’s fight with confidence in ourselves, and a commitment to each other. To the America we know is possible. The America, we love.
Years from now, this moment will have passed. And our children and our grandchildren will look in our eyes and ask us: Where were you when the stakes were so high?
They will ask us, what was it like?
And we will tell them. We will tell them, not just how we felt.
We will tell them what we did. …