The Port Chicago Disaster 79th Commemoration:
Letter from Vice President Kamala Harris


Statement from VP Kamala Harris (PDF)

I send my greetings to everyone gathered at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial. Today, I join you in remembering the many lives lost 79 years ago in the Port Chicago Disaster of July 17, 1944.

This memorial honors a painful but important time in history, paying tribute to the hundreds of sailors and civilians who were killed in a catastrophic munition explosion. The majority of these deaths were Black sailors who were working for a racially segregated Navy. Their service enabled our nation to defend democracy abroad, and their sacrifice was a catalyst for strides toward racial equity within the United States military. The Port Chicago Disaster survivors and community pushed for progress, and our Armed Forces are stronger today because they reflect the diversity of our country.

As we honor the legacy of those who lost their lives, may this memorial remind us that we cannot turn away from the truth of our country's past and we must confront injustices that still persist. Let us continue to fight for fairness, equality, and opportunity for all so that future generations may reach even greater heights.

Kamala D. Harris
Vice President of the United States of America