(Columbia, SC) — Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries are scheduled to participate in the annual “King Day at the Dome” event in South Carolina on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as announced by the state’s NAACP chapter. The event, set to take place on January 15 in Columbia, will commemorate the life and legacy of the civil rights leader.
In a news release on January 2, the NAACP disclosed that both Harris and Jeffries will serve as keynote speakers during the event. This marks Harris’ second visit to the state within two weeks, following her planned appearance at a church in Myrtle Beach on January 6.
The “King Day at the Dome” event, held at the South Carolina State Capitol, includes an annual church service and demonstration. Notable figures such as U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, a close ally of President Joe Biden, are expected to attend. Brenda Murphy, president of the SC chapter of the NAACP, emphasized that the event is inclusive, encouraging people of all backgrounds to participate.
The White House has not officially confirmed Harris’ attendance, according to The Post and Courier, which sought a statement from the administration. Historically, the event has been a regular stop for Democratic presidential candidates, drawing attention during election campaigns and serving as a significant platform for Democratic politicians aiming to connect with the state’s Black voting population ahead of the South Carolina primaries.
This year’s “King Day at the Dome” holds special significance as South Carolina’s presidential preference primary is scheduled for February 3, marking the state’s early position in the Democratic presidential nominating calendar. However, it coincides with a noted trend of growing apathy among Democrats’ traditional coalition of urban voters of color, which the NAACP aims to address.
The theme for this year’s event is “ballots for freedom, ballots for justice, and ballots for change.” The focus is on encouraging voter turnout in the upcoming presidential election, with a specific effort to counteract apathy observed within the Democratic voter base.
Brenda Murphy stated, “In terms of the apathy, we want to do what we can to encourage those individuals that their vote counts. That they know it’s important that they vote.”
The choice of messengers for this encouragement is pivotal. Harris, the first woman and person of color to hold the position of vice president, has made several recent visits to the Palmetto State. Jeffries, the first African American politician to lead a party in either chamber of Congress, adds significance to the event.
The event’s schedule includes a speech by Jeffries and a church service at Zion Baptist Church in downtown Columbia at 8:30 a.m. Attendees will then march to the state house for a 10 a.m. rally featuring multiple speakers, culminating in an address from Vice President Kamala Harris.