A clip of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has been circulating online without full context, with users claiming that Harris said Hurricane Ian relief funds would be distributed based on “equity.” The short clip cuts the full context of the comment, where Harris was asked about Hurricane Ian relief efforts as well as how the United States should respond to climate change impacts more broadly.
Harris was in conversation with actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas at the Democratic National Committee Women's Leadership Forum held on Sept. 30, 2022 in Washington (here).
Users shared a 40-second clip of Harris, who is heard saying: “It is our lowest-income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions. And impacted by issues not of their own making” (here).
Chopra Jonas adds, “and women,” to which Harris can be heard responding: “Absolutely. And so, we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity. Understanding that we need to fight for equality but also equity. Not everyone starts out at the same place. And sometimes, we have to take into account those disparities, and do that work.”
Some users shared the short clip with remarks suggesting that Harris was speaking specifically about relief funds being directed to victims of Ian, the massive hurricane that pounded Florida between Sept. 28 and Sept. 30 (here).
The conversation between Harris and Chopra Jonas was streamed live on Sept. 30 by “Now This News” and can be viewed (bit.ly/3rpafAX).
The specific comment Harris made about providing resources based on equity was in response to a lengthy question posed by Chopra Jonas, who asked (at 4:23s): “So, can you talk just a little bit about the relief efforts obviously of Hurricane Ian and what the administration has been doing to address the climate crisis in the States but, and just a little follow-up, because this is important to me, we consider the global implications of emissions, right? The poorest countries are affected the most. They contribute the least and are affected the most. So, how should voters in the U.S. feel about the administration’s long-term goals when it comes to being the international influencer on this topic?”
Harris responds (5:03s) by thanking the audience, and noting that $370 billion of funding from the Inflation Reduction Act is “… dedicated to address the climate crisis. Not only because it is a crisis, as evidenced as you have mentioned by Ian, by the wildfires happening in California, the floods, the hurricanes, but also because of America’s leadership and what it should be, globally on this issue….”
Harris continued, referencing climate-related natural disasters generally (6:04s): “The crisis is real, and the clock is ticking…the way that I think of it, is both in terms of the human toll, and I know we are all thinking about the families Florida, in Puerto Rico with Fiona, and what we need to do to help them in terms of an immediate response in aid, but also what we need to do to help restore communities, and build communities back up in a way that they can be resilient, not to mention adapt, to these extreme weather conditions which are part of the future.”
Addressing Chopra Jonas’ point about disparities, Harris noted, “… it is our lowest income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions and, and impacted by, by issues that are not of their own making … we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity. Understanding that we, we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity, understanding not everyone starts out at the same place. And if we want people to be in an equal place sometimes, we have to take into account those disparities and, and do that work…”
Missing context. Harris was addressing a lengthy question about how to tackle extreme weather events broadly when commenting that resources should be distributed in a way that is equitable. The comment was not made specifically about relief post-Hurricane Ian.
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