Kamala Harris grilled Joe Biden on race and it may have changed the entire 2020 campaign.

In the lead-up to the last presidential election, thousands upon thousands of people begged Joe Biden to run. And after Donald Trump was elected, even more people demanded that Biden, who was then seen as America's kooky but competent uncle/grandpa, take a stab at the presidency. After all, a guy who was the right-hand man to (arguably) one of America's most respected presidents had to be the best choice, right?

Well, things are a little different in 2019. Even though Biden's been polling well, his campaign has been plagued with controversy — he's been accused of sexual harassment and has ignited ire due to his positive statements about working with segregationist— and at last night's debate, he took another hit when Kamala Harris rightfully confronted him about past statements and stances.

Kamala Harris Confronts Joe Biden On Race | TIME www.youtube.com


Harris, a former prosecutor from California, the second black woman to ever be elected to the senate, and the only black woman vying for the presidency, turned her focus to Biden after telling the audience that she "would like to speak on the subject of race." Then, she said she was going to direct her next comments "at Vice President Joe Biden."

"I do not believe you are a racist, and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground," Harris said before revealing Biden's past work in opposing integration. This, she said, was "personal."

"It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country. And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing," Harris added.

"And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me," Harris revealed before stating that the subject of race can't be "an intellectual debate among democrats. We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly."

Biden responded by saying that Harris has mischaracterized him, noting his past as a public defender (and "not a prosecutor") and Vice President to Barack Obama before stating that everything he'd done in his career was in service to civil rights. Perhaps, in other cases, this would have been enough to get him back on even footing, but Harris, who continues to prove she's a formidable opponent and a strong candidate, shot back with a question about integration.

"Do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America then? Do you agree?" she asked.

"I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education. That's what I opposed. I did not oppose ——" Biden said.

"Well, there was a failure of states to integrate public schools in America. I was part of the second class to integrate Berkeley, California public schools almost two decades after Brown v. Board of Education," Harris shot back.

Biden and Harris face off on second night of debates | ABC News www.youtube.com

Biden's response that Harris' experience was a failure of local government landed flat, with Harris saying that the federal government must step in when states fail to support and protect civil rights.

"That's why we have the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. That's why we need to pass the Equality Act. That's why we need to pass the E.R.A., because there are moments in history where states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people," she said.

Though Biden tried to fight back, it was clear that no prepared answer would work. And while many might still see his performance at the debate as solid — especially in comparison to freshly-minted viral sensation Marianne Williamson — his responses are a reminder that we must hold those who seek power accountable for their actions.

Will Harris win the nomination? That's still to be seen. But last night's performance sent the message that she's not going down without interrogating the decisions her opponents have made.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

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