By Nadiyah Johnson
This week, we learned from reports that Donald Trump downplayed the threat of COVID-19. Black Wisconsinites have borne the brunt of the the pandemic’s infections and deaths and job loss, because Trump intentionally didn’t do his job. Now, we are all living with the immense economic consequences of his failure to lead.
But the deadly coronavirus pandemic is not the only crisis our Black community is facing –we face an overlapping economic recession that’s hit Black workers and small businesses especially hard.
The racial disparities and inequities that persist across our economy and culture existed before coronavirus and before Trump, but have deepened under his failed leadership. As we march, protest and call for bold policies to right historic wrongs – Trump refuses to meet the moment, choosing instead to fan the flames of hate and division.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Joe Biden knows that Black communities can never have a fair shot at the American Dream so long as entrenched disparities are allowed to quietly chip away at opportunity. That is why racial equity is a distinct pillar of his recovery platform, and incorporated in each of the other pillars. With Sen. Kamala Harris, he will rebuild our economy in a way that finally brings everyone along—and that starts by rooting out systemic racism from our laws, our policies and our institutions.
Biden and Harris will invest and create wealth in the Black community and tackle the racial wealth gap, opportunity gap and jobs gap head on. He will create millions of good-paying jobs through a bold infrastructure package, increase the minimum wage to $15/hour and create a $15,000 down-payment tax credit for first-time homebuyers. He will protect and build on Obamacare to ensure access to high-quality, affordable health care and will create a new public health insurance option.
Biden will launch a historic Small Business Opportunity initiative to provide critical seed money for minority-owned businesses so that they can further leverage private investment. And he will expand access to $100 billion in low-interest business loans by strengthening Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions and the Community Reinvestment Act–critical sources of capital for minority-owned businesses.
Biden and Harris will focus on much-needed reforms of our criminal justice system and ensure that everybody gets a second chance. They will outlaw choke holds, create a model use of force standard and root out systemic misconduct in police departments and prosecutors’ offices. They will invest in public defenders’ offers, eliminate the death penalty and end cash bail and private prisons. And they’ll decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all cannabis use convictions, and end incarceration for drug use alone.
Biden knows that in order to get our country on a strong path to recovery, we have to unleash the full potential of our communities of color. That’s why he has a plan to build back better and to build back a more fair American economy – one that dismantles the structural barriers that have made it far too difficult for the Black community to get by or get ahead.
Biden and Harris understand the urgency of this moment – the stakes in this election could not be higher.
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