VP Kamala Harris introduces new fund to support Oakland, Calif., students

Vice President Kamala Harris waves at the Oakland Generation Fund event in Oakland, Calif., on Friday. Photo by George Nikitin/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 13 (UPI) — Vice President Kamala Harris helped launch a new college scholarship fund for students born in her hometown of Oakland, Calif., sharing her thoughts on equality and equity with students there.

The Oakland Generation Fund, an outgrowth of an initiative started by Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Oakland Promise, will provide $500 college savings accounts for children born in Oakland to low-income families.

It will also fund scholarships of $1,000 per year for low-income students in Oakland public schools who pursue a two- or four-year college degree or trade certificate. Officials said they expect Oakland Promise to attract about 30,000 students to the fund by 2035.

“This work, of course, is grounded in the concept of equity, which we all know and understand equity is — it’s about understanding that the reality is not everybody starts out on the same base,” said Harris, who was born in Oakland and grew up in neighboring Berkeley. “So when we talk about equality — well, that’s a good goal.

“But let us not presume that because everyone should be treated equal that they start out on equal footing. So equity, as a concept, says: Recognize that everyone has the same capacity, but in order for them to have equal opportunity to reach that capacity, we must pay attention to the issue of equity if we are to expect and allow people to compete on equal footing.”

Schaaf’s Oakland Promise is an education initiative that started in 2016 with the aim of increasing the number of local high school students completing higher education.

Schaaf, who has been friends with Harris before both of their work in politics, said $50 million has already been raised for the fund through community donations.

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