By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
It’d be easy to forget given everything else that has happened this year, but 2020 is a major election year. This November, citizens across the nation will be casting their ballot in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden or current President Donald Trump.
Last week, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Milwaukee Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa held a roundtable discussion to help Biden roll out his racial equity plan.
Barnes noted that Wisconsin is home to some of the worst racial inequities in the nation.
“We are repeatedly ranked as one of the worst places to raise a Black child,” he said. “And we have the widest gaps between our Black and white population when it comes to incarceration, income, unemployment, child poverty and the list goes on.”
Over the years, the Republican led legislature has done its best to disenfranchise Black and brown voters, Barnes said. Currently, Wisconsin has one of the restrictive voter ID laws in the country, Barnes said.
Furthermore, the Black communities have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19, with the Black and Hispanic and Latinx population making up 40% of cases in the state, he said. Instead of coming together to aid the underserved communities, Barnes noted that the Republicans are trying to undermine Gov. Tony Evers’ efforts.
“We need a president who is going to work diligently to bring us together to undo the harms that have been going on for so long,” Barnes said. “Make no mistake about it, these things have existed before Donald Trump was in office.”
Barnes continued, “We need someone who is ready to lead our country not only towards a real recovery but towards a just and equitable recovery and that is Joe Biden.”
Biden’s recovery Build Back Better plan addresses racial equity and environmental justice, Barnes said. The plan includes measures to invest in Black and brown owned businesses, affordable housing, education and more.
Biden understands the urgency of this moment, Barnes said, and he plans to bring in new and progressive voices. Barnes urged people to get involved in the campaign before handing the mic over to Grisham, the governor of New Mexico.
“What’s facing this country can be so incredibly bleak and dark given the decisiveness and the injustices that every community experiences every single day,” Grisham said.
She noted that seeing the number of young people fighting for the soul of this nation is heartening. Biden’s platform includes strategies that address structural racial inequalities.
His Build Back Better plan wants to work with small and minority business owners to lift them up.
“All of the states, we’re in a situation where we don’t have enough resources to both save the businesses that are on their last lifeline and make sure that we lift them up,” Grisham said.
Business owners, especially minority female business owners, need a plan that doesn’t just talk about the issues but has real meaningful aspects and gives them access to capital, Grisham said.
“Biden is going to change the priorities of the federal government away from Wall Street, away from the buddies of Trump and into the hardworking men and woman who have been making a difference for our communities,” she said.
The Build Back Better initiative is a plan that makes a difference, she said.
To view Biden’s plan visit joebiden.com/racial-economic-equity.