I know that these are difficult times. We are a nation in pain, experiencing darkness, hate and division. 

What we are seeing right now is America without leadership. In the middle of a global health pandemic, communities across this nation are at a boiling point after decades of systemic oppression and racism. 

As Vice President Joe Biden said earlier this week in a powerful speech to this nation, we are crying out for leadership. Leadership that can unite us, leadership that can bring us together, leadership that can recognize the pain and deep grief of communities that have had a knee on their neck for way too long. 

We need someone to lead us to unity, to healing. Donald Trump is not interested in either. He would rather fan the flames of hate and incite violence for political gain and that is not who we are. 

I don’t have to tell you how consequential this election is. The very character of our nation is on the ballot and lives are literally on the line. Joe Biden has spent his whole life fighting for people who haven’t gotten a fair shot, who have been discriminated or treated as invisible. Who struggle to pay the bills and make ends meet. Who can’t quite tell their kids everything is going to be okay. 

Joe will never stop fighting for those families, no matter the color of their skin, their zip code, income, what God they pray to, or whom they love. And now he has vowed to make this an era of action, to reverse systemic racism and oppression in our country. 

The next president will inherit a nation in crisis. But, I know Joe Biden is up to the challenge. He can and will bring us together. He can unite us; here in Texas and across the country. And that is why I am proud to introduce the next president of the United States, Joe Biden. 

Editor’s Note: The above commentary was delivered by U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela of Brownsville at the Texas Democratic Party’s “virtual” state convention. Vela introduced the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate Joe Biden. Here are Biden’s remarks:

Joe Biden’s remarks

Thank you Congressman Vela for that introduction. Hello, Texas Democrats, in case you’re wondering, I’m on my back porch in our made-up studio here and it’s as hot as the devil, that’s why I don’t have a coat and tie on. And I wish we were all together this year under different circumstances meeting, rather than this way. Separated by one another by a deadly virus more than 100,000 lives lost and millions out of work. And once again the words “I can’t breathe” echoing in our ears. As we watch the brutal horrifying killing of George Floyd.

It’s time for us to take a hard look at the uncomfortable truth. It’s time for us to face the deep open wound of systemic racism in the nation. Nothing about this is going to be easy or comfortable but if we simply allow this wound to scab over once more without treating the underlying injury, we’ll never truly heal. I said from the beginning: the very soul of this nation is at stake. That’s why I’m running for president and why I stand united with every single Democrat behind our mission to beat Donald Trump and restore real leadership to the White House. But we have to do a lot more than just beat Donald Trump. 

We have to keep the House of Representatives. We have to win over the United States Senate. We have to flip the Texas House. We have to lead and deliver meaningful change for people that are hurting all across this nation. Texas is an important Battleground State for our campaign in 2020. I think we have a real chance to turn the state Blue because of the work all of you have done. We’re building a diverse coalition to win up and down the ballot in the fall. There’s no question Latino communities are important to this state and to the country. You’re a major reason for our economic growth. You’re a major reason why Texas is now a swing state. Since day one of this administration there has been a relentless attack on the Latino Community. We saw the results last August in El Paso, as El Paso was targeted by a hateful attack. Donald Trump’s  anti-Latino, anti-immigrant agenda has targeted Latinos with dire consequences. Whether it’s his attacks on Healthcare, a meaningless wall, or children being ripped from the arms of their mothers.

As early as this Monday, maybe the following Monday, the Supreme Court will issue its ruling on whether Trump’s rescission of the deferred action for childhood arrivals, DACA, the DACA program is lawful. For nearly 10 years, DACA has given us more than 700,000 young immigrants who came to this country as children, for a chance to pursue their dreams and contribute to the country that they know is home. Now Trump wants to take this American Dream away. Let me tell you something, as President, I will protect Dreamers and their families and on day one I will introduce an immigration reform making sure we protect Obamacare, rebuild our economy, and ways to bring everybody along. 

It’s important that we all turn out to vote, from Houston to El Paso and everywhere in between. We have to do everything we can to make sure Democrats on the ballot across Texas are successful in November. Not just the top of the ticket. The stakes in this election have never been higher for our country. We have to work harder than ever, harder than ever. We need to stand up as a nation, stand with the black community, of all communities of color. Come together as one America, deliver justice for all Americans. You know if we stand together, we’ll win the battle for the soul of this nation. We need to do this. We can do this. We will do this with your help. God bless you all. Thank you I wish I was with you and I’m anxious to campaign in person. Thank you all so much. God bless you and may God protect our troops. 

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