OAKLAND, Calif. - Vice President Kamala Harris visited her hometown of Oakland on Friday to announce the launching of "The Generation Fund," a $50-million investment to support every low-income public school student and baby born into poverty.
The program includes $500 savings accounts for 10,000 "Brilliant Babies," who meet the financial requirements, and $1,000-a-year scholarships for 20,000 Oakland public school students who are considered low-income when they are going to college or pursuing a trade certificate. Each amount is good through 2035.
"We must pay attention to this issue of equity," Harris said, noting she was born down the street at a Kaiser hospital in Oakland. "If we are to respect and allow people to compete on equal footing. And Oakland has always been a leader on that point."
Harris said this journey is very personal for her.
"I grew up in this community that said dream with ambition, lead with conviction," she said. "I grew up in this community that said, 'I don't ever hear the word no.' America is only made real when we invest in the capacity and the dreams and the potential for people. Oakland is doing just that work."
Headed by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, this community-raised fund includes close partnership with the school district.
"As the mayor and proud native of Oakland, California, I am beyond thrilled to be with each and every one of you today to transform an announcement for our children and families," Schaaf said. "You are all Oakland's brilliant babies. You are all of Oakland's promise."
Natalie Gallegos, a senior at Oakland High School, said she is the first in her family to attend college.
And the money is helpful to her and other seniors in her situation.
"This is showing us that no low-income family should have to struggle financially on whether or not their kids should go to college," said Gallegos.
While the programs already exists under Oakland Promise, launched in 2016, this expands the investment to support high school graduates through college savings accounts and scholarships.
Harris stressed this is a step toward equity.
"This will also help our nation, by example to do what we must do to close the wealth gap in our country, the education gap in our country, and the opportunity gap that still exists in far too many communities," she said.
Harris also visited the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland to discuss innovations with business leaders.
The Vice President was in San Francisco – where she used to be the district attorney – on Thursday, talking about the assault on reproductive rights in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.