Tom Steyer is spending more time and resources on the campaign trail working to win over Black voters. Last week, the billionaire entrepreneur threw a town hall with special guests and used the opportunity to release a $125 billion HBCU plan. Tomorrow the campaign is releasing a TV commercial that speaks to environmental justice for Black Americans.
Last Tuesday’s town hall titled “Ladies First: Reclaiming Our Space,” kicked off in South Carolina at Allen University, an HBCU, with Feminista Jones, and panelists MC Lyte and Karen Civil among others. The campaign touted it as a way to “build a collective voice for change” and “an event that will allow for policymakers, celebrities, influencers, and local organizations to share their work and uplift solutions that empower girls.”
Tuesday brought the announcement of Steyer’s $125 billion plan for historically Black colleges and universities, making his proposal the largest amount a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate has earmarked for the investment into these institutions of higher learning. The campaign notes that funds will be given to the colleges over a 10 year period with a priority on infrastructure needs.
On the heels of those community-focused policies, the Steyer campaign shares with ESSENCE that he is releasing a commercial about the work he’s done in bringing climate equity to underserved communities. The two-minute ad, which was originally published to YouTube earlier this month, features Deanna Berry, a woman whose friendship Tom spoke about on the debate stage in November. The Steyer supporter lives in Denmark, South Carolina, and Berry describes it as a place that is, “experiencing a horrific tragedy where our public drinking water has been poisoned for ten years.”
Steyer has said in previous interviews that he is the sole candidate with a number one focus on climate. In the commercial, he pledges to be a constant presence in rural America and place the necessary attention on fixing their unique environmental issues, if elected president.
Steyer seems to be making headway in The Palmetto State, which is the first primary state with a significant Black population. A Change Research/ Post and Courier South Carolina Poll taken from December 6-11, 2019 puts the late entrant whose been flooding the state with TV commercials, with 5 percent of the South Carolina vote.