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The Greenwood Initiative: Economic Justice for Black America
Create generational wealth through homeownership
Mike’s plan lays out a path for the creation of 1 million new Black homeowners by providing down-payment assistance, getting millions banked and recognized by credit scoring companies, enforcing fair lending laws, reducing foreclosures and evictions and increasing the supply of affordable housing.
Spur the creation of more than 100,000 new Black-owned small businesses
Mike will double the number of Black-owned small businesses by establishing across the country user-friendly one-stop shops for entrepreneurs, expanding mentorships and incubators, increasing access to capital (both debt and equity), supporting Black-owned banks and expanding procurement from Black-owned businesses. These efforts will include a special focus on Black female entrepreneurs, the fastest-growing group of new entrepreneurs in the country.
Commit $70 billion in neighborhoods that need it most
Mike’s plan will commit $70 billion in funding and technical support to turn around 100 of the country’s most disadvantaged communities. The investments will focus on addressing disparities in early childhood, schools, higher education, skills and training, employment, health and environmental conditions.
Address systematic discrimination
Mike will reinvigorate the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and require more transparency from companies in their hiring, pay, lending and procurement practices. Mike’s plan also ties federal housing funding to progress in reducing segregation, requires implicit bias training for police, teachers and federal contractors, and expands and protects voting rights.
- Create 100,000 new Black-owned small businesses
- Create 1 million new Black homeowners
- Invest $70 billion in our 100 most disadvantaged neighborhoods
- Reinvigorate efforts to defend civil rights
- Collect better data on hiring, pay, procurement, and lending
A working Agenda for Black America
For too long, Black communities have been locked out of opportunity.
The path to economic security is steep and rocky for millions of working people in this country, and it is steeper and rockier for Black Americans. Over the years, America’s middle class has been deliberately hollowed out, and families of color have been systematically discriminated against and denied their chance to build real security. This economic squeeze has touched every community in America; and for Black communities that have stared down structural racism for generations, the squeeze has been even tighter.
Long before I got into politics, I wrote about how Black Americans are more likely to fall into bankruptcy than white Americans, and how payday and subprime lenders are basically legally sanctioned corporate swindlers who prey on families of color. And I’ve always come back to this one central question: who does government work for?
If we’re going to reshape our economy, restore our government and save our democracy we need bold, structural solutions to the problems we face as a nation. And that means tackling generations of racial injustice and systemic discrimination head on.
That’s exactly what my plans do. Here are a few examples:
My student debt cancellation plan will help close the wealth gap between Black and white families.
My criminal justice plan will end the practice of mass incarceration that has destroyed the lives of so many Black and brown men and their families.
My housing plan will help families living in formerly redlined areas buy a home and start building the kind of wealth that government-sponsored discrimination denied their parents and grandparents.
My plan for entrepreneurs of color will level the playing field by creating a new program with $7 billion in funding to provide grants to entrepreneurs of color.
My environmental justice plan includes justice for the Black and Brown communities that have struggled with the impact of pollution, and my plan respects the rights of Native Americans to protect their lands and be good stewards of this earth.
And on day one of my Administration, I will use my executive authority to start closing the pay gap between women of color and everyone else – because it’s about time we fully valued the work of women of color.
In our country, if you work hard, you ought to be able to take care of yourself and the people you love. That should be the fundamental promise of America. This is deeply personal to me because I got a real taste of opportunity: my father ended up as a janitor, but I got to be a public school teacher, law professor, a United States Senator, and a candidate for president. I’m deeply grateful, and I’m running for president because I want every kid to have a chance to build a future. For me, it all comes down to opportunity.
But here’s the thing, real opportunity requires honesty. We must recognize the systemic discrimination that infects our country, and we must work actively – and deliberately – to root it out and set us on a better path. This agenda is a work in progress and will continue to be updated based on input and insight from Black activists, community leaders, organizers, policy experts, and stakeholders.
Black Americans currently have ten cents for every dollar white Americans have. Latinx Americans currently have thirteen cents for every dollar white Americans have. This is unacceptable: It’s time for America to treat the lives of people of color like they’re worth more than change on the dollar.
More than 22% of black Americans and more than 21% of Hispanic Americans are living in poverty compared to 12% of white Americans.
Today redlining prevents businesses owned by people of color from getting loans, and predatory lending results in higher interest rates in low-income communities of color. More than 47% of African Americans are unbanked or underbanked and some 43% of Hispanic families are unbanked or underbanked, whereas 18% of whites are unbanked or underbanked. The massive disparities and discrimination in the availability of financial services must end.
Our campaign is fundamentally dedicated to ending the disparity of wealth, income and power in this country. It’s time to bring a systemic approach to systemic racism. Structural problems require structural solutions, and together we can meet that challenge.
Systemic inequities have created innumerable disparities across racial groups from health outcomes, to health insurance rates, education outcomes, college debt rates, and police violence. Bernie is running for president because he believes we’re obligated to do more than just acknowledge the problem. He believes in implementing policies that aim to achieve substantive equality now—while the generations alive today can benefit. In a country that is genuinely free, neither one’s zip code nor the color of their skin would determine a child’s life outcome. Bernie believes our country is morally bound to close the racial wealth divide. In order to do that, we must ensure that people:
- Start treating the racial wealth divide like the crisis it is. We must end the especially pernicious racial wealth divide that exists today in America within the gap between millionaires and the poor, working, and middle classes of all races.
- Guarantee a job to every American. A job guarantee will create good-paying jobs and will create work building much needed infrastructure and providing critical services to communities across the country.
- End redlining practices and other forms of housing discrimination that still exist.
- Make sure every kid, regardless of race or class, receives a quality education.
- End the affordable housing crisis and create a path to wealth building through homeownership.
- Make sure resources are focused on the Americans who need it most — often as a result of structural disadvantage. Bernie supports the 10-20-30 approach to federal investments which focuses substantial federal resources on distressed communities that have high levels of poverty.
- Support public colleges and HBCUs. We must make public colleges, universities and trade schools, tuition-free—including for the 76% of HBCU students who attend public colleges—and increase public funding for all HBCUs.
- Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Black and Latinx workers disproportionately work minimum wage jobs. Raising the minimum wage will increase the wages of 38% of African-American workers and 33% of Latinx workers.
End the discriminatory practices in our financial services. We must allow every post office to offer basic and affordable banking services and end lending discrimination once and for all.
The Douglas Plan
Equal Employment and Business Opportunity
A third of Black Americans report either owning a businesses or expecting to start one within the next five years, yet 57% of this group say they frequently worry about not being able to secure a loan. 53 After the Great Recession, minority-owned businesses added 1.3 million jobs to our national economy.54 Black and Latinx entrepreneurs respectively comprised 14% and 8% of entrepreneurs in 2015, though their combined revenue was less than 2% of the total $33.5 trillion in revenue from all entrepreneurs.55
The Walker-Lewis Initiative aims to triple the number of entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds within 10 years. Inspired by Black business pioneers Madam CJ Walker and Reginald Lewis, the goal of this initiative is to create up to 3 million new jobs in minority communities and across the country overall. This initiative has four main elements:
- We will create the federal Walker-Lewis Entrepreneurship Fund to invest in entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds. This fund will co-invest in funds with the explicit goal of investing in entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, particularly based in low-income and minority communities. The government would co-invest up to $10 billion within five years, which will activate another $10 billion of private capital. Additionally, there would be corresponding investments in increasing access to capital, entrepreneur training and development, and rigorous measurement and data tracking.
- We will introduce the Walker-Lewis Debt-for-Jobs Plan to help students start businesses.Every student who was eligible for Pell Grants while in school will have his or her college loans deferred and forgiven over a five-year period if they start and maintain a business employing at least three people within five years of leaving school.
- We will launch the Walker-Lewis Promise to aim to award 25% of federal contracting dollars to small business owners from underserved communities in urban and rural areas, including minority-owned firms (currently nearly 10%) and women-owned firms (currently at 5%). 56Overall federal contracting in 2017 was over $500 billion. 57 Awarding more contracts to business owners who are economically and socially disadvantaged would inject over $100 billion in underserved communities.
- We will convene a Walker-Lewis Task Force to identify additional ways to reach our entrepreneurship goals and report back to the President within the first 100 days of the Buttigieg Administration. Appointed by the President and chaired by the Secretary of Commerce and a prominent minority business leader, this task force will be a highly diverse and credentialed collection of entrepreneurs and will represent the federal government’s deepest collaboration with the minority business community. This commission will also work to secure additional private sector commitments to increase minority entrepreneurship.
In addition, we will supercharge investment (5X) in minority-held depositories. Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) have been lending to low-income, low-wealth, and overlooked communities for decades. They are connected to and understand the needs of communities. We want to increase the ability of CDFIs to invest in entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and businesses in their communities. The Douglass Plan would provide five times the community reinvestment act (CRA) credit or “super credits’ to banks who invest more capital in minority-owned CDFIs.
Based on decades of systemic racism and exclusion, Black Americans continue to be disproportionately unemployed and underemployed, especially young African American men. In most occupations and professions, Black Americans continue to be underrepresented, especially in executive, management, and leadership positions. The gaps in promotion and pay are even larger for Black American women in the workforce. There are numerous, inter-connected reasons for this persistent employment gap that require both short-term and long-term solutions. We will therefore:
- Vigorously enforce civil rights laws ensuring equal opportunity through the Department of Justice, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Department of Labor.
- Raise the minimum wage to at least $15: Black workers are disproportionately likely to earn less than $15 per hour58, so increasing the minimum wage will especially empower Black Americans.
- Support career mentorship, employee resource groups, and peer support programs and initiatives across multiple industries and occupations; convene White House Summits on equal employment opportunity by sector, e.g. by the Department of Health and Human Services to address the persistent underrepresentation of Black Americans in medicine, dentistry, and nursing.
Finally, we will appoint Cabinet Secretaries, presidential appointees, and White House staff that include Black Americans and reflect the diversity of America. We will appoint Black Americans and other people of color to Presidential commissions, task forces, and advisory bodies. Our Office of Public Engagement will establish and build relationships with community leaders and stakeholders from across Black America–teachers, health professionals, business leaders, faith leaders, artists, professional athletes, community organizers–to make sure there are seats at every federal government table to listen to and be more accountable to Black America.
Amy’s Plan for Economic Justice and Opportunity for Communities of Color
Senator Klobuchar has laid out a plan for her first 100 days as President that includes executive action she can take immediately to provide economic justice for communities of color. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s 100 day plan here. (Released 6/18/19)
Raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15. In line with her goal of increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, Senator Klobuchar will increase the minimum wage for federal contractors to that threshold.
Restore and strengthen overtime rules. Too many American workers have been working overtime without getting paid for the extra hours. Senator Klobuchar will restore and strengthen the Obama Administration’s overtime rules to expand overtime pay to millions of workers, increasing the maximum salary for a worker to qualify for the overtime pay they’ve earned.
Develop best models of care to address disparities in maternal and infant mortality and address the shortage of maternity care health professional in underserved rural and urban areas. Senator Klobuchar will immediately implement a new law that tackles the shortage of maternity care health professionals — including nurses, midwives, and obstetricians — in underserved areas, and she will develop best models of care to address racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality.
Provide incentives for employers to adopt paid family leave and child care benefits. Senator Klobuchar will reward federal contractors by providing additional points during the contract bidding process if contractors offer paid family leave to their employees or child care benefits.
Protect student borrowers. Senator Klobuchar will restore and strengthen rules that allow students who believe they were defrauded by their colleges to apply for loan forgiveness, providing relief to thousands of additional students.
Strengthen the Minority Business Development Agency. The Minority Business Development Agency provides technical and managerial expertise to help minority business overcome social and economic disadvantages. President Trump has proposed eliminating the agency, but as President, Senator Klobuchar will ensure it has the resources it needs.
Restore staffing levels at the Office of Civil Rights and the Office of Federal Student Aid. The Trump Administration has dramatically cut staffing levels at the Department of Education. Senator Klobuchar will restore staffing levels at the Department of Education, including at the Office of Civil Rights and the Office of Federal Student Aid, which has created obstacles for processing more than 87,000 borrower defense claims as well as impeded investigations into Title IX violations.
Improve free tax filing. Senator Klobuchar will direct the IRS to prevent tax preparation vendors from steering low-income taxpayers toward paid products, which has reduced the use of free filing products. She will also direct the IRS to devote greater resources to the enforcement of vendors’ obligations under the Free File program.
End attempts to reduce federal housing subsidies. Senator Klobuchar will reverse the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to federal housing subsidies that could triple rent for some households and be particularly harmful for seniors, families with children and people with disabilities.
Put rules in place to prevent pay discrimination. The Trump Administration has tried to block rules that require large companies to disclose what they pay employees by sex, race, and ethnicity in an effort to prevent pay discrimination. Senator Klobuchar will end the Trump Administration’s legal efforts to prevent the rule from taking effect.
Expand apprenticeships. Senator Klobuchar will direct her Secretary of Labor to analyze the use of apprenticeships for in-demand occupations, launch a nationwide campaign, and expand apprenticeship opportunities and benefits with the goal of doubling the number of apprenticeships to over a million by the end of her first term.
Support and strengthen the Economic Development Administration. The Economic Development Administration works directly with communities and regions to promote competitiveness and innovation. It has a proven track record of success and on average every $1 of EDA infrastructure funding generates $15 in private investment. Still, the Trump Administration repeatedly proposed eliminating the agency. Senator Klobuchar will ensure the agency has the resources to carry out its mission.
We had a difficult time trying to identify exactly what Joe Biden’s Black Agenda is. We don’t consider criminal justice or prison reform the totality of what a Black Agenda should encompass.