by HBCU – Oct 24, 2019 (HBCUTimes.com, abridged)
There are a number of questions voters may ask themselves before stepping into the ballot box. “Did I read enough about the candidates?” “Do their policies align with mine?” “Is there a place nearby where I can grab that second cup of coffee?” But most often it is — “whose presidency is going to make my life better?”
There is one presidential candidate who has proven to have intentional policies designed to make a difference in the Black experience, and that’s Pete Buttigieg. We are over 400 South Carolinians, including business owners, pastors, community leaders, and students. Together, we endorse his Douglass Plan for Black America, the most comprehensive roadmap for tackling systemic racism offered by a 2020 presidential candidate.
Pete recognizes that our challenges are intertwined–that you cannot talk about criminal justice reform without talking about an issue like economic empowerment, and you cannot talk about economic empowerment without talking about things like how our neighborhoods were segregated. His plan–as ambitious as the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II–addresses all of these aspects of our lives, including laying a strong foundation for racial justice, spurring Black entrepreneurship, and reforming our broken health care system. Pete believes that, with the right kind of policies and a national movement that holds our whole government accountable, we can finally achieve equality in his lifetime.
Pete will launch a federal fund, modeled on a successful program in Maryland, that will co-invest in entrepreneurs of color, so that a young coder from Spartanburg or Greenville can get a leg up in fulfilling her aspirations. Recent graduates who were eligible for Pell Grants would be encouraged to start and maintain businesses in exchange for having their college loans deferred and forgiven. And under a Buttigieg administration, the federal government will set a new and far higher target for doing business with minority- and women-owned firms — increasing it to 25%. This proposal alone could inject more than $100 billion in communities of color.
But Pete’s policies to reverse the harms caused by hundreds of years of systemic injustices don’t stop there. Pete has proposed a 21st Century Homestead Act to make it easier for people living in historically redlined communities to become homeowners. . With Black women dying from maternal complications at triple the rate of white women, and Black men facing a greater risk of diabetes, Pete has outlined a plan for Health Equity Zones to help communities with their most pressing needs — including recruiting more Black doctors, nurses, and health professionals. And to ensure it becomes easier–not harder–to vote, Pete will pass a 21st Century Voting Rights Act.
On the campaign trail, Pete has been talking about making Americans in every part of the country feel like they belong. And the Douglass Plan does just that. Tearing down racist structures and systems with bold and comprehensive reforms, the Douglass Plan will unlock the potential of Black America and take bold steps toward fulfilling long-broken promises of true equity.
[read in full at HBCUTimes.com]