Tag Archives: black americans

Former Obama aide Reggie Love endorses Pete Buttigieg

by Blair Shiff -Jan 13, 2020 (Yahoo.com)

Reggie Love, who filled a pivotal role in the White House serving as former President Barack Obama’s special assistant and aide from 2007 to 2011, spoke Monday on Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto” about why he’s supporting Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.

Love drew parallels between the South Bend, Indiana, mayor and his former boss, noting he believes Buttigieg, as the youngest candidate in the Democratic race, “can galvanize a new electoral body that is a more accurate representation of what America actually is.”

“I think Pete Buttigieg has a great opportunity to do something unique, bringing about transformational change to the country,” Love told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto. “I think he’s got a great message about unity, and, ultimately, when you look at the difference in 2016 and 2008, it’s really about getting people excited to vote, and I think the only way you get people excited to vote is to bring them into the fold and to give them new ideas and meet them where they live.”

Buttigieg is lagging behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., in the polls, but that doesn’t concern Love. He said if you look at the recently released polls, nearly half of caucusgoers in Iowa are undecided.

“I would argue that given Pete’s relative newness on stage, it’s pretty impressive that when people get to actually hear Pete’s message, they like him,” Love said.

Buttigieg scored endorsements from three former Obama administration officials, his campaign announced on Dec. 5, solidifying Buttigieg’s top-tier status.

The endorsement from a high-profile African American official comes at a pivotal time for Buttigieg, who’s struggled to attract black voters even as he’s surged to the top of some polls in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Love isn’t concerned about the African American voters supporting Buttigieg.

“I think as people in the African American community get to hear his message, I think that they’ll find it to be one that resonates with them,” Love said.

Buttigieg also nabbed endorsements from the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee, and the former communications director for the White House Office of Health Reform, Linda Douglass.

“it’s rare we have an opportunity in a candidate like Pete Buttigieg”

OPINION: It’s time for Black voters to take a closer look at Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Miss Black America Ryann Richardson announces her endorsement of former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

by Ryann Richardson – Jan 10, 2020 (TheGrio.com)

In an exclusive statement to theGrio, the current Miss Black America Ryann Richardson announces her endorsement of former Mayor Pete Buttigieg for President of the United States. As she prepares to travel across the country with his campaign as a surrogate, Richardson explains why she believes Buttigieg is absolutely Black America’s best chance to win back the White House. 

Long before I became the 50th Anniversary Miss Black America, before I was a tech executive or a diversity advocate, I was a weird nine-year-old watching impeachment proceedings on TV. My parents worked in the federal government and the news media, so conversations in our DC-area home often touched on whatever was happening in the White House or on the Hill.

My parents would take me with them into polling booths and let me stay up late to watch election results. I grew up loving history, government, and politics, largely because they just made sense to me. With each election, I intuitively knew how my country would move, even when it was counter to my own desires. History had taught me as much.  I took comfort in my understanding.

In 2016, “He Who Shall Not Be Named” was elected, and the world seemingly caught fire. I questioned everything I thought I knew and felt a sense of hopelessness about this country I once understood so well.

I’d always been acutely aware of the personal toll of individual and institutional racism and sexism in America. My parents prepared me well for the realities I would undoubtedly face as a Black woman in our country. Nonetheless, these last few years have been terrifying. The “-isms” I thought we all publicly regarded as passé enough to at least be relegated to the shadows have suddenly shifted to open bigotry.

The attitudes of the basest corners of our society, once fodder for faceless Twitter trolls, are now promoted from verified accounts with names and Congressional seats and endorsements from the highest office in the land. Exhausted by an administration that trades on hatred, I was prepared to “clock out” on America for a while to preserve my own mental health.

Then the primary season rolled around, and that little girl who loved politics was awakened. I wondered if anyone could make it all make sense again. If someone could restore at least a morsel of decency to politics (or, as my mom would say, ‘act like they have some sense.’) I wanted a candidate who would advocate for marginalized Americans, who would make decisions with an eye towards the impact on the younger generations that would ultimately bear their burden, and — above all—who could win a general election in our new America.

I wasn’t sure if anyone could do that. I personally like many of the candidates and have followed most of their careers for years. But, I questioned if the system could be fixed by many of the same politicians who broke it in the first place. I was skeptical that is, until I found myself struck by one leader who I believe to be different: who’s young and brilliant, a war veteran who answers questions directly and speaks to people like people. I found the candidate I was looking for in former South Bend Mayor, Pete Buttigieg.

I am an extremely progressive voter but I’m also a pragmatist. While I would love nothing more than to snap my fingers and bring my wildest liberal policy dreams to fruition, I know that progress is a process. I value that Pete’s campaign has put forward comprehensive plans on everything from ensuring affordable and universal health care to fighting climate change and that his policy ideas are socially progressive and politically achievable.

For our exceedingly polarized country to realize a better America, we have to first find common ground. If our candidate cannot bring people together, we cannot win elections and then even our brightest ideas are merely academic.

Pete’s agenda can win because it can unite a majority of Americans in moving our nation in a positive direction. He doesn’t feed into the toxicity in our political discourse. Instead, he offers thoughtful answers to the questions that matter. How do we connect Americans in our common interests? How do we usher in a sustainable future for our country?

I believe that the Democratic nominee must represent great leadership, character, and intellect. A candidate who lacks one out of three is an issue. A President who lacks all three (read: you know who) is dangerous.

I see all three of those qualities in Pete, perhaps most importantly to me, in his approach to race.

Like most of us, I’m accustomed to politicians rolling out the theatrics to court Black voters: popping up at every soul food spot in town, scheduling the always bizarre photo opp in a local barber’s chair, and paying lip service to improving quality of life for Black folks — only to forget us after Election day.

I’m used to white men — especially political figures — whose memories get foggy when recalling the institutional inequities at the very foundation of our country, and the continued history of policies (some authored by current presidential candidates) that have directly harmed Black Americans. I don’t see that with Pete.

We met at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 2019 Annual Legislative Conference, where I commended him on being one of the few candidates I feel addresses race and equity honestly and in good faith.

In the wake of the shooting death of Eric Logan by a South Bend police officer, Pete didn’t make excuses, or offer spin, or point to a host of Black leaders who ought to share the blame. Instead, Pete admitted that he’d fallen short in addressing the department’s lack of diversity. He accepted accountability for a failure on his watch, and emphasized that national leadership has to fully address racial inequity across America. I respect his honesty, realism, and commitment to do better.

Black voters are right to demand that Presidential candidates put forth an agenda that specifically serves us. Pete released the ambitious Douglass Plan, which I advise reviewing here. Its provisions would fundamentally change lives for so many Black Americans. They include investing $50 billion in HBCUs, tripling the number of underrepresented entrepreneurs within a decade, ending incarceration for drug possession, and dismantling the financial incentives central to our criminal justice system by eliminating for-profit federal prisons and the cash bail model. These are critical reforms and I respect that Pete talks about them, and the systemic racism they address, not only with Black voters, but in front of predominantly white audiences, affirming that “Black issues” are American issues.

A portion of Woke Twitter recently dragged Pete for suggesting that being a gay man helps him relate to Black Americans. The supposition was that as a privileged white man, he couldn’t know our struggle and that being gay doesn’t compare. Keeping score of whose trauma reigns supreme, playing this strange game of “Oppression Olympics,” is counterproductive. It only distracts from what matters — building a future in which none of us are victimized by such indignities.

Yes, Pete is a white man, and therefore he’s definitely afforded privileges, but compared to the Central American asylum seeker separated from her child at our southern border, so am I. My experiences as a Black American woman means that I identify with her and thus, dictates that I advocate for her.

I doubt she cares that my struggles have been different from hers when I use my voice to demand that she be treated with dignity. Just the same, I do believe that Pete’s lived experience as a gay man, knowing what it means to be an “other” in America, having his civil rights debated and threatened, gives him a unique ability to empathize with and use his privilege to advocate for Black Americans. I’d expect nothing less.

If reports of Pete’s polling in our community are an accurate indicator, it’s fair to say my opinion may be an unpopular one … for now. It would surely be easier to keep my head down and not weigh in. But I’ve never been afraid to be first and I was raised to live in my truth.

As Black Americans, for generations, our votes have been taken for granted by candidates who saw our support as a foregone conclusion. Today, they shouldn’t. We have options. Furthermore, we have a responsibility to ourselves and to the future of Black America to explore those options, to question the conventional wisdom about who we should support, and to scrutinize the (sometimes long and problematic) record of any candidate who purports to deserve our loyalty.

I believe Pete is the best candidate not only to win back the White House, but to actually lift up the people who politicians have always left behind. History has taught me it’s rare we have an opportunity in a candidate like Pete Buttigieg. We should not waste it.

Pete Buttigieg Is The Man With The Plan We Need

by Lamell McMorris – Dec 23, 2019 (MichiganChronicle.com)

Frederick Douglass asks in his “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”: “Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?” Through my career as a civil rights leader, a successful entrepreneur giving back to my community, and being actively involved in critical Black institutions, such as the NAACP, NAN, National Urban League, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and three leading HBCUs, I have always worked to further expand freedom and justice for Black Americans, who have experienced systemic barriers since our country’s founding. These struggles have always been at the forefront of my mind and my work.

In this critical election, where our world is buffeted by historic changes, and as our current president condones prejudice every day, we need a proven leader with a plan to lead us through the chaos this administration will leave behind and, in its place, intentionally rebuild our institutions and policies that will empower and uplift our people and our communities.

I’ve seen a lot of leaders in my time, leaders who have helped my community grow, and leaders who have sacrificed and fought their whole lives to change policies that have hurt my community.

Pete Buttigieg is the leader we need right now with the best plan to empower Black Americans.

In 2012, he took over leadership of his hometown of South Bend, Indiana, with a plan to turn around a Rust Belt city that had been dismissed as “dying.” And then he rolled up his sleeves and worked with his community to revitalize his hometown. He created a small business incubator on the historically Black West Side and installed WiFi in parks and public housing to expand opportunity for all the city’s residents. Working hand in hand with churches and nonprofits, he helped bring early childhood education to neighborhoods that needed it most and raised the minimum wage for city employees. And committed to safety and transparency, Pete’s administration worked to hold the police accountable with new training and technology, like body cameras, and partnered with community leaders to keep young people out of the criminal justice system.

Real challenges remain. But eight years later, South Bend is a city transformed. If you drive through South Bend on your way to Chicago, where I was born, you will see a city that is no longer a former shell of itself.

Now, Pete is bringing his vision and leadership to the contest for president of the United States.

Building on the work he has begun in South Bend, Pete has put forward a Frederick Douglass Plan, crafted with the aid of civil rights leaders, advocates, and business leaders, including input from the Douglass family itself, tackling institutional racism in our country. From injecting capital into the Black community to reforming broken criminal justice and health systems, the Douglass Plan is a sweeping strategy to combat systemic racism and unlock the full potential of Black America. While all of the Democratic candidates recognize the importance of addressing these challenges, Pete is the only candidate who has put forth a plan to actively reverse the harms that have compounded over centuries.

When it comes to empowerment through education, Pete’s administration will invest $50 billion to transform our HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions and help further level the playing field between them and other world-class institutions. As a Morehouse Man and board member of two HBCUs, I know firsthand the extraordinary role these schools play in educating the next generation of Black leaders.

To uplift aspiring entrepreneurs, Pete will triple the number of entrepreneurs from underserved areas within 10 years, creating over 3 million new jobs. Having founded multiple businesses, I know how many great ideas will be unlocked with greater access to capital.

The Douglass Plan further recognizes that the neighborhoods we live in still determine so much of our success in life. So many families have had their opportunities circumscribed by the pen of a mortgage lender; 74 percent of neighborhoods that were redlined in the 1930s remain low-income to this day. My development firm, Greenlining Realty USA, has been actively working to counter the effects of redlining in the West Woodlawn community on the South Side of Chicago where I grew up. So I am particularly gratified that Pete is proposing a 21st Century Community Homestead Act that would dramatically expand people’s ability to acquire properties and build wealth instead of being forced out by gentrification.

Whether he’s proposing to invest in Black America, rising to meet the climate crisis, or combating hate and gun violence, Pete has proven he has the right vision for our country. But perhaps equally as important, he has the leadership qualities to deliver on these promises.

Meeting with him recently in Atlanta, I found him to be not only brilliant but genuine, an authentic leader who values honesty and transparency and seeks to build consensus. When his efforts in South Bend faced opposition, he worked to bring community leaders, residents, and other stakeholders along.

As we continue our work to extend the principles of political freedom and natural justice, so that Black Americans are fully empowered in our country, Pete has proven himself to be the leader with the best plan that we need right now.

Buttigieg makes case to black students

by Riley Bunch – Nov 20, 2019 (TheDailyStar.com)

Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, in Atlanta this week for the Democratic primary debate, pitched his new affordable college plan to black college students.

The South Bend, Indiana mayor fielded questions at Morehouse College ahead of the debate where students said they came to hear what he has to offer them and black voters across the country.

In the crowd of a couple hundred people, Morehouse freshman Trey Causey waited to hear how Buttigieg could help young minorities gain ground through affordable college.

“A lot of brothers and sisters are being forced out of college because they just can’t afford it,” Causey said. “And now college is the only way to be socially mobile for the vast majority of people. Being able to afford college, I’m really interested to hear his plan. That is a key part of why I am here.”

Causey said now more than ever, young people need to become involved in the electoral process. With so much going on in America, he said, being informed is “crucial.”

From New Orleans, Causey said many of the historically black colleges and universities students come from varied black communities throughout the nation and winning them over might not necessarily mean a candidate will win, but “it’s a step in the right direction.”

Melina Watson took the short five-minute walk to Morehouse from Spellman College to hear Buttigieg speak. She said college students who didn’t take the opportunity to see a presidential candidate — and specifically address college affordability — in their own back yard made a mistake.

“Higher education is something that’s a pressing issue for so many Americans, and kind of a source of a lot of turmoil and trouble in the country,” Watson, a freshman, said. “So it’s important for candidates to have an answer for the people who are asking questions because college isn’t affordable for most people. Especially us here at HBCUs, black people, black students going to college is as much of a monument in itself. But affording it is one thing and getting there is another.”

College affordability, Watson said, can “challenge the generational wealth inequality that black people face.”

Julian Hemmings, president of the New Deal Democrats at Morehouse, said when he mentions Buttigieg to his peers many don’t know who he is. But when he explains to them there’s a candidate who identities as a veteran, a gay man and a Rhodes scholar, they want to hear more.

“I think if he can emphasize who he is and where he comes from, he’ll have a chance,” Hemmings told reporters.

The 37-year-old mayor’s higher education plan would eliminate tuition for nearly 7 million students eligible for federal Pell Grants and dedicate $50 billion in funding to historically black colleges and other institutions serving minorities.

“It is important that the presidential race finds itself in Atlanta and I think it’s fitting that the path to the White House right now goes through Morehouse,” he said.

Buttigieg answered questions about reparations for slavery, voter suppression, canceling student debt and impeachment. Buttigieg told the crowd without voter suppression, Stacey Abrams would be Georgia’s governor.

When asked his priorities for rural Georgia, Buttigieg pointed to his plan for rural economic development: making sure there is access to health care, access to the internet and access to economic growth. He also mentioned rural communities that have grown are often those embracing immigration. Buttigieg wants to increase foreign visas in rural communities.

24 Hours With Pete Buttigieg

By Tanya A. Christian · Nov 21, 2019 (Essence.com, abridged)

ESSENCE cameras followed along as news and politics editor, Tanya Christian, spent 24 hours on the campaign trail in South Carolina with the 2020 hopeful.

On the road in South Carolina was not the first time I got to spend time with the man who is now surging in the Iowa polls. In July he attended the 25th annual ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans where he rolled out his Walker-Lewis plan. At the time he touted it as a way to help bridge the economic divide by investing in Black entrepreneurs. 

I noticed then that Buttigieg is purposeful in his approach to creating a campaign that feels inclusive of the Democratic party’s most loyal voting block. Just prior to Festival, he rolled out a plan named after highly-regarded abolitionist Frederick Douglas that would help increase the number of successful small businesses in Black communities by 50 percent. It would also rebuild America to a place that didn’t administer potential based on skin color.

I asked him about it when we sat down the next day in the same Rock Hill area. Why had he placed Black women, the Black community at the core of so many of his policies? To that, he said, “For reasons related to sexism, racial inequality, and other structural problems — all of which by the way came about on purpose. Which means it won’t be taken apart unless we do it on purpose.”

The 37-year-old has a point. But as aware as he is of structural inequity among communities of color, I have to imagine that he’s conscious of the fact that support for his campaign within the Black community is practically non-existent. During a California campaign fundraiser, he reportedly said that the reason he wasn’t doing well among Black South Carolina voters, and Joe Biden was, comes down to familiarity. And unfortunately for the mayor, familiarity is hard to come by.

It takes time, real work, and a certain level of credibility. The kind that inspires people to see that their issues and concerns are being heard, and will, in fact, be addressed.

He tells me during our talk that the federal government created many of the inequalities that we’re living within the first place and that he wants to fix them. That he has a chance to stand up at a time like this, and that’s what he plans to do as president. On that note, I believe him. Now only time will tell if he can convince the Black community, the country, that it’s enough to catapult him into the White House.  

[read in full at Essence.com]