“There is injustice in America. There is discrimination. There is a legacy of racism and inequality that lives still in our institutions, our laws, and in too many people’s hearts that makes it harder for Black people to succeed. These are facts in the United States of America in 2020, and we must all do more to move our nation closer to the ideals inlaid at our founding—that all women and men are created equal.” – Joe Biden
Now that Joe Biden has secured his position as President-Elect, many in the Black community want to make sure that his agenda for African American communities remains forefront.
The “Lift Every Voice” plan highlights Biden’s policies and proposals that would address racial disparities within the economy, education, health care, criminal justice, voting rights and environmental justice.
“Today, there are Americans all across this country, especially Black Americans, who are exhausted and hurting. Who are disappointed by a system that never seems to deliver for your communities. Who are sick and tired of a cycle where, in good times, Black communities lag behind, in bad times they get hit first and hardest, and in recovery, they take the longest to bounce back,” Biden said when announcing the plan.
“We’re in the midst of four simultaneous crises—a pandemic that has claimed more than 200,000 lives, a disproportionate number of whom were Black; an economic crash that has hit Black workers and Black business owners especially hard; a long overdue reckoning on racial justice; and a climate crisis that is already hurting Black and Brown communities the most,” he added. “It is our job to do everything in our power to rip out systemic racism across our society, root and branch.”
Highlights of the plan:
- A proposal for a $900 million, eight-year grant program to fight gun violence in cities across the U.S.
- Instructing his Justice Department, as well as civil rights offices in other federal agencies, to crack down on hate crimes.
- Advancing the economic mobility of African Americans and closing the racial wealth and income gaps, by investing in African American businesses and entrepreneurs; ensuring equal access to credit; improving and expanding the Small Business Administration programs that most effectively support African American-owned businesses. Increasing opportunities for African American-owned businesses to obtain or participate in federal contracts. Making sure economic relief because of COVID-19 reaches the African American businesses that need it most.
- Expanding African American homeownership and access to affordable, safe housing by helping families buy their first homes and build wealth by creating a new refundable, advanceable tax credit of up to $15,000. Also, tackling racial bias that leads to homes in communities of color being assessed by appraisers below their fair value.
- Protecting homeowners and renters from abusive lenders and landlords through a new Homeowner and Renter Bill of Rights. This new Bill of Rights will prevent mortgage brokers from leading borrowers into loans that cost more than appropriate, prevent mortgage servicers from advancing a foreclosure when the homeowner is in the process of receiving a loan modification, give homeowners a private right of action to seek financial redress from mortgage lenders and servicers that violate these protections, and give borrowers the right to a timely notification on the status of their loan modifications and to be able to appeal modification denials.
- Tackling of student debt and loans, including forgiving student loan debt for families making less than $125,000 for all public universities, and private historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions. Including in the COVID-19 response an immediate cancellation of a minimum of $10,000 of federal student loan debt.
- Investing $1 billion per year in juvenile justice reform. Ensuring political appointees, including the president’s Cabinet, look like the country they serve and ensuring that our federal workforce is representative of the demographics of our country.
- Making far-reaching investments in ending health disparities by race.
- Making the right to vote and the right to equal protection real for African Americans.
Addressing environmental justice.
- Giving local elected officials the tools and resources they need to combat gentrification. Biden will implement the Obama-Biden Administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule requiring communities receiving certain federal funding to proactively examine housing patterns and identify and address policies that have a discriminatory effect. The Trump Administration suspended this rule in 2018.
- Promoting more equitable wealth building and a more secure retirement. The typical white family holds approximately 10 times the wealth as the typical African American family—a disparity that dramatically increased over the past half century. Today, the typical wealth of a white family is $171,000, compared to just $17,600 for the typical African American family. This inequity means that many African American families have insufficient wealth to enjoy a secure retirement. Biden will: equalize the tax benefits of defined contribution plans; equalize benefits across the income scale, so that low- and middle-income workers will also get a tax break when they put money away for retirement; and remove penalties for caregivers who want to save for retirement.
- Investing in communities that need it most. To tackle persistent poverty in all communities, in both urban and rural America, Biden supports applying Congressman James Clyburn’s 10-20-30 formula to all federal programs, targeting funds to census tracts with persistent poverty.
- Investing in historically marginalized communities and bringing everyone to the table for transportation planning.
- Reducing disparities in funding for HBCUs and MSIs.
- Bringing broadband to every American household, which will close the digital divide.
- Strengthening public and private sector unions and helping all workers bargain successfully for what they deserve by fighting for equal pay and ensuring federally funded projects protect workers; and encouraging diverse hiring and promotion practices.
- Improving teacher diversity.
Read the plan in its entirety at: https://joebiden.com/blackamerica/