South Court Auditorium
4:22 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Congressman Richmond, for all your work as well. You work tirelessly, around the clock, and are very much a part of the — the fuel that has driven this process.
I’m looking at the big board over here at the — we have thousands of people on this call, and I’m just seeing the faces of all of you who have been so tireless in your role of leadership. And I — I just want to say thank you. Thank you. And — and it is an honor to be with everyone today.
So, because of you, and the Made to Save group and folks, you have helped to make our “We Can Do This” Month of Action possible. And thank you to the 600 partner organizations that have stepped up to join us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to every single volunteer who helped make this month a success.
And that’s in the midst of the — the responsibilities, the obligations that each of you have on a daily basis. On top of all of that, you have volunteered your precious time to help heal and — and strengthen our country.
And as Congressman Richmond said, to date, our Month of Action partners have made two million calls and texts. That’s you. You all have done that. You have recruited thousands of volunteers. And you’ve held events in all 50 states across the country. Community organizations have hosted pop-up clinics; I have visited some of them. Faith leaders have given sermons about vaccine safety as an extension of all that we understand that is about “love thy neighbor.” And volunteers have taken part in the vaccine knock-o-thons. Whoever thought we’d be talking about vaccines in a knock-o-thon? But that’s what we’re doing — going door to door to help people make appointments.
And the impact of your work is real. The proof is in the progress. Going into this month, we were beginning to see major slowdowns in vaccination rates in states where there was vaccine hesitancy. That was one of our real concerns.
Well, progress: Three weeks later, we have seen some of our greatest gains in these same states we were concerned about — states like Alabama and Georgia and Florida and Texas, where we have seen vaccination rates grow by 3 and 4 percent, which is incredibly significant when you’re thinking about the numbers of folks that we’re talking about.
And all told, since June 4th, nearly 7 million additional American adults received at least one dose of the vaccine. Today, more than — as Congressman Richmond mentioned, today, more than 65 percent of all American adults have received at least one dose. So that’s incredible progress.
But, of course, we are not done. This weekend is the final push of our Month of Action. So we need you to keep doing what you have been doing. And again, I know it takes a lot to do what you’ve done already, but it’s making a difference. It’s making a difference.
So please keep knocking on doors, keep signing people up for appointments, and keep letting people know that the support — that the support is out there, and let them know about it. From free rides to and from vaccination sites, to free childcare through providers like the YMCA — let’s let folks know that they are right to be concerned about the demands on their lives and how are they going to be able to overcome those demands to go and get a vaccine.
And we’ve been addressing that with free rides and — and our whole process that’s been about pharmacies staying open 24 hours, about what we do about childcare, what we’ve been doing to — to challenge employers around the country, to give people paid time off to go get their shot. So let’s let people know what’s available to them to make it easier for them to get vaccinated.
For my part, as you know, I’ve been traveling around the country. On Monday, I’m going to continue our bus tour. I’ll be going to Detroit as part of “We Can Do This” bus tour.
And a few weeks ago, I’ll tell you, I was in Atlanta, and it was — as every visit has been — it was very special. But I’ll tell you, I had the honor of going back to visit the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. And of course, as you all know, that is the church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached until his death.
And today, in addition to still being the great Ebenezer Baptist Church, it is also a vaccination site. So, I went there to see what they were doing at the church, in terms of reaching out to folks in the community, and it really highlighted a point, which is that, it — like so many other places we’ve seen that are vaccination sites — continues to be a house of healing.
And when I was there, I talked with a group of folks who had just been vaccinated and the healthcare workers who were administrating the vaccines, and this is what I shared with them — it’s partly what I’ve already mentioned to this group: The act of getting vaccinated, the act of administering the vaccinations — well, these acts are the very essence of what the Bible and so many faiths tell us about the importance of our role and our power when we say, “Love thy neighbor.” And I truly believe in the power of that. Right? Knowing the — the strength, the power of that love and what it can do.
And also understanding that when we talk about “neighbor” — well, it might be the person next door who you know; and your neighbor is also a perfect stranger to you — somebody you may meet on the street, but, in their face, though they may be a perfect stranger, you see a friend.
And so this is the work that you all have been doing, which is reaching out to folks — perfect strangers to you before now — and connecting with them, and letting them know and reminding them that we are a part of a community of people. And what affects one of us will invariably affect all of us, both in terms of how we lift each other up and how we connect with each other, reminding folks they are not alone.
So we do this work — I know for so many of you — from a place of love, from a place of neighborly love, from a place of knowing that we are all in this together. And when we approach our world from that perspective, we are actually a stronger world.
So, to all of you, I say — as you already know: We can do this. Together, we can do this. We are doing this. We will do this.
And so again, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Please be well. And I hope to see you soon. Take care.
END 4:29 P.M.