Remarks by Vice President Harris in a Moderated Conversation with John Leguizamo at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Leadership Conference

Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, D.C.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everyone.  (Applause.)  

MR. LEGUIZAMO:  Look at all these great faces out there.  This diversity is so heartwarming.  You didn’t see this four years ago, five years ago, to see these leaders — future leaders, my Latin diaspora out there.  It — it’s so heartwarming.

Now, you see my Mets hat.  I’m also a Jets fan.  So, you know I always have resting asshole face — (laughter) — because we’re always on the losing end.  But it’s made me strong. 

And I’ve been in over 100 movies, not all of them good.  But I got Sid, the sloth there, you know.  That’s — that’s a little moneymaker.  And Encanto was great.  But it was — it’s more exciting, my work — not doing my work, but being here with — with the — Madam Vice President.  This is more — means more to be in the room where things really happen.

So, I want to start with: You spent a lot of time engaging with the Latino community, both in D.C. and on the road.  Over the last few months alone, you visited Chicago for UnidosUS convention that —

MR. LEGUIZAMO:  Thank you for that, all three of you.  (Laughter.) 
And went to Miami to engage with young climate leaders, made multiple stops at Latino-owned small businesses, hosted Latino leaders from across the country at your residence.  And last week, you launched the “Fight for Your Freedoms Tour” where you are traveling to college campuses across the country to speak with young leaders about the most urgent issues at this moment — in particular, the fight for our most fundamental freedoms. 

And then, just yesterday, you were speaking with students at — at Reading Area Community College, a Hispanic Serving Institution, HSI, in Pennsylvania.

It’s incredible what — what you’re doing and — and helping us to feel seen, because this is an important moment. I mean, Latinos — we’re 20 percent of the population, 54 percent of registered voters.  We’re going to decide the next presidential election, and you’re giving us the self-worth that we deserve by being here.  Thank you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. LEGUIZAMO:  What — what are you seeing and hearing from — from the American people?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, first, let me say it’s an honor to be with you, John.  I was — we were talking backstage, but I know everyone has applauded him, but what you have been doing, in particular, with your most recent project around traveling the country to remind people of the history of Latinos in the United States, the present, understanding how we all stand on the shoulders of great Latino leaders, and how it is so much a part of who we are as a nation.

So, I just want to congratulate you —

MR. LEGUIZAMO:  Thank you.  Thank you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — for the way you use your artistry and your voice.  (Applause.)

So, I’m — I’ve embarked on this college tour.  And I know that everyone here knows the CHCI, with what you’re doing with the intern — the interns here, with the fellowship program, which you’ve been doing for years, bringing up and lifting up our young leaders, and — and I just decided I wanted to get out of D.C. and get on the road and be with our young leaders where they are.  And so, I decided to do a college tour, which I started about two weeks now, and then yesterday, the most recent one in Reading, Pennsylvania.
And I just want to say, there are a lot of leaders who are in this room, many of whom have been here working in Washington, D.C. — toiling in Washington, D.C., to make sure that we propose and pass public policies that are relevant to all people, that give dignity to all people, that understand who the people of our country are and celebrate our diversity in a way that hopefully is a step toward understanding what we should celebrate in terms of unity. 

That being said, there are lots of challenges that we’re facing right now as a country. And when I meet with our young leaders, and they’re all over — and I’m going to give a particular shout out to the Gen Z.  (Applause.)

And when I say freedom, that includes the freedom to just be — free of hate, free of fear, free to thrive, to be, to have ambition.  And what gives me optimism is that I think most people agree that it’s worth fighting for these things because we love our country.  We love our country.  And it’s worth fighting for.

And I think most people do believe that.  And although we might be seeing some full-on and loud attacks on these freedoms and, by extension, on our democracy, I do believe that people are prepared and will always be prepared to stand up in defense of what is right and what is good and what we believe ourselves to be as the United States of America.

MR. LEGUIZAMO:  Awesome.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

Thank you for that.  Thank you.


MR. LEGUIZAMO:  What a pleasure.  (Applause.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  That was fun.

MR. LEGUIZANO:  Awesome.  Thank you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Take care, you guys.  (Applause.)

END                       5:33 P.M. EDT

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