*Vice President Kamala Harris marked Black Maternal Health Week Tuesday with a discussion on issues that make Black women two to three times more likely to die due to childbirth. But there was another pressing matter that warranted her attention before the panel started.
“He should be alive today,” Harris began, regarding the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright.
“Our nation needs justice and healing. And law enforcement must be held to the highest standards of accountability,” the vice president said. “We know that folks will keep dying if we don’t fully address racial injustice and inequities in our country — from implicit bias to broken systems.”
Addressing Wright’s family directly, Harris said that she and President Joe Biden “grieve with you” and “stand with you.”
Harris went on to link the same racial injustice that prompts police killing Black people to how Black women are three times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related issues.
“We know the primary reasons why: systemic racial inequities and implicit bias,” said the vice president, who has long been an advocate for Black maternal health. Harris relayed how Black women have repeatedly shared their stories of experiencing postpartum depression and being “dismissed” or telling doctors they are in pain and being “ignored.”
“Black women deserve to be heard, their voices deserve to be respected,” Harris said. “And like all people they must be treated with dignity.”
Watch the vp’s comments on Wright and Black maternal health below: