On the heels of his appearance at Essence Festival, Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is fully outlining his Douglass Plan, which he has tagged as a comprehensive investment in the empowerment of Black America. The current mayor of South Bend, Indiana first announced the plan in an op-ed last month for the Charleston Chronicle.
The proposal is named in honor of prominent abolitionist and activist Frederick Douglass, and details the ways in which the federal government can “intentionally dismantle racist structures and systems.” Buttigieg suggests doing it by making an economic investment into the Black community.
The 7-point plan addresses health care, education, entrepreneurship, criminal justice reform, housing, public health infrastructure and environmental justice, and voting rights. In it, Buttigieg calls for the establishment of health equity zones, bias training for healthcare workers, free post-secondary education for low-income students, increased funding for HBCUs, greater access to capital for Black businesses.
“The Douglass Plan reflects a fundamental belief about racial justice in America: not only that it is right to remedy centuries of dehumanization and discrimination in and of itself, but also that when Black Americans live in freedom and justice, all Americans have greater opportunities to live in freedom and justice. When Black America experiences economic justice and opportunity, we all benefit,” the proposal reads.
According to Buttigieg’s strategy, economic justice will also come by cutting the prison population in half and eliminating incarceration for drug offenses. States who willfully enact criminal justice reform will receive double the federal funding.
Though the Black community’s 40 acres and a mule aren’t on the game plan, the Democrat who has come out in favor of reparations wants to make it easier for Black Americans to own property and revitalize neighborhoods. Simultaneously, Buttigieg is calling for a serious look at infrastructure and environmental conditions that disproportionately affect areas with a high concentration of Black people.
“We have lived in the shadow of systemic racism for too long,” Buttigieg said. “We’ve seen a rise in white nationalism, an economic gap between Black and white workers that grows instead of shrinks, and worse health outcomes for Black Americans, particularly new mothers, that should make us all wonder how the richest country on earth can allow this to happen under our noses. The Douglass Plan will help heal our deep racial divides with bold policies that match the scale of the crises we face today.”