Soon after hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs threatened to hold the Black vote hostage until Democratic candidate Joe Biden addressed the issues that concern the Black community, Biden unveiled his agenda for Black America.
Biden’s proposal, named “Lift Every Voice: The Biden Plan for Black America,” focuses on the African-American community as well as racial disparities in the impact of covid-19.
Early criticism of the agenda includes that it falls short because it does not discuss reparations, an idea that has been gaining traction in the Black community and with other politicians. Nor does the agenda address the roots of inequality in the U.S. — a must for some activists.
Chicago-based #ADOS supporter and former political consultant Maxwell Little tweeted, “Understand that Biden & his team are playing with #ADOS emotions by naming that empty plan after the Black national anthem ‘Lift every voice and sing til earth and heaven ring.’ Originally a poem written by James Weldon Johnson. We cannot fall for emotional tactics. #Reparations.”
What the plan does is look at six main policy areas — education, healthcare, the economy, environmental justice, criminal justice, and voting rights.
In a statement announcing his Plan For Black America, Biden wrote, “The truth is, African Americans can never have a fair shot at the American Dream so long as entrenched disparities are still allowed to chip away at opportunity. You don’t have an equal chance when your schools are substandard, when your home is undervalued, when your car insurance costs more for no good reason, or when the poverty rate for African Americans is more than twice what it is for whites.”
The covid-19 pandemic has shone a “new light” on the public health and economic disparities Black America is facing today, Biden says in the plan.
“The data we’ve seen so far suggests that African Americans are dying from covid-19 at a higher rate than whites. Long-standing systemic inequalities are contributing to this disparity — including the fact that African Americans are more likely to be uninsured and to live in communities where they are exposed to high levels of air pollution,” the plan pointed out, referring to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and a recent study from Harvard University.
On the economic front for Black America, the plan calls for increased funding for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and a renewed focus on ensuring that funding is received by African-American-owned businesses, ABC News reported
Biden also promises to push for criminal justice reform. This includes prioritizing the prosecution of hate crimes, a $900-million initiative to fight gun violence and $1 billion annually for juvenile justice reform.
The plan also repeats Biden’s previously announced support of more progressive policy proposals on student debt and loans. He restates his plan to forgive student loan debt for families making less than $125,000 for all public universities, private historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 70: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin goes solo to discuss the COVID-19 crisis. He talks about the failed leadership of Trump, Andrew Cuomo, CDC Director Robert Redfield, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, and New York Mayor de Blasio.
The plan also would ensure “political appointees, including the president’s Cabinet, look like the country they serve and ensure that our federal workforce is representative of the demographics of our country,” a senior campaign official told Axios.
“(Vice President Biden) will be taking this message, particularly as it relates to combating what’s happening with the coronavirus, the lack of leadership in the White House currently, and the lack of governance from the White House currently and juxtaposing that with what he would do as President,” a senior campaign official said.
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