WASHINGTON: US Vice President Kamala Harris has held a meeting with a group of faith leaders to discuss a number of pressing issues, including hate crime, immigration and COVID-19 vaccination.
Harris said the faith leaders had been a source of strength, comfort and counsel amid the difficult and dark times.
"You have worshipped with families virtually or in person who have experienced tremendous loss," Harris said in her address on Wednesday.
Four faith leaders attended the event in person, while another five joined virtually.
None of the attendees were from minority religions.
"As our faith leaders, you have been housing the homeless. You have been feeding the hungry," she said.
"And over this last year in particular, it has stretched the resources that are not only financial and physical but spiritual. Yet you are unwavering."
Harris urged faith leaders to encourage people to get the vaccine.
"As our faith-based leaders can help us to make sure that everyone, when it is their turn, gets a vaccine. And that is one of the first areas that I'd like to discuss with you," she said.
Talking about the hate crimes, Harris underlined the importance of what faith leaders could do collectively and see the "moment of crisis" as an opportunity for coalition building.
The vice president said she was doing work on the Northern Triangle.
"I know that a lot of you are working on this issue in many ways -- but to the extent that you have thoughts and experience about what we can do to address some of the root causes that cause people to flee their home "Because, as we all know, most people like being at home. They like being where they grew up. They like being in a place where they understand the culture -- it is part of their culture; they speak the language," she added.