On Saturday, former Vice-President Joe Biden made his first appearance at the ESSENCE Festival of Culture and launched his new ESSENCE column #AskJoeBiden.
Biden, the presumptive Democrat nominee for president, laid out his plans for the Black community and what he hopes to achieve in his first 100 days in office, should he win the 2020 Presidential Election.
“My plan for the African American community will close the wealth and income gap by investing in African American homeownership, including a $15,000 first time home buyer tax credit, doubling funding for small state business credit initiatives, drawing billions in private capital to Black-owned businesses, boosting support from mission-driven lenders to low income communities. Expand the new market tax credit and investing in communities that most need it. And fight along with black workers for equal pay, labor rights, and a safe workplace. Nothing about this fight will be easy. It’s going to take leadership at the highest levels of our government and sustained grassroots pressure from every American who can no longer just stand silently by. American history isn’t a fairy tale. We’ve never lived up to our founding promise of equality for all. But we’ve never stopped trying until this president,” Biden stated.
In addition, Biden also answered a reader-submitted question that asked, “Are there policies that you plan to enact that will swiftly improve educational infrastructures in Black communities?” He noted that no child’s future should be determined by their zip code, income or race.
“We can’t lead the 21st century if we don’t give every student a strong foundation for the future. As president, I’ll invest in our children from birth through high school and beyond. I’ll offer universal pre-K, so every child gets the same strong start in life, triple funding for Title I schools and close the gap between rich and poor districts. I’ll boost teacher pay and expand the pipeline of teachers of color in the schools. Kids are more likely to stay in school if they see someone like themselves in the classroom. That’s why I’ll invest $5 billion in graduate teaching programs at HBCUs and minority-serving institutions. Fix the public service loan forgiveness program to help teachers pay off their student debt, fund dual enrollment high school programs and training aspiring teachers early,” he said.
And finally, Biden responded to recent talk surrounding his pledge to pick a woman as his running mate, and also spoke about his other commitments to diversity beyond his cabinet appointments.
“The Obama-Biden administration issued an important executive order to promote diversity and inclusion all across the federal government. I’ll reissue it and mandate strict compliance. I’ll rebuild the pipeline of federal workers, and I’ll draw more people to the public service by fixing our public service student loan forgiveness program, forgiving $10,000 a year in student debt for five years. I’ll invest in new career pipelines for HBCUs to federal agencies. Make sure we boost training and mentoring, collect data and increased transparency about hiring and promotions. This country’s full of committed, smart, courageous people of all backgrounds, eager to serve their country and do something beyond themselves. I’m ready, and they’re ready,” Biden stated.