By Garlin Gilchrist II is the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Michigan.
2020 has been a tough year. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost loved ones to the pandemic, thousands of small businesses have shuttered, and hundreds of thousands of Michiganders remain out of work. But here’s the good news: in less than a week, we can change the trajectory of this country.
But we have got to vote. And we have got to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a plan to advance racial equity and make real investments in Black America. Joe Biden sees this moment as an opportunity—not just to help our country get back to where we were before COVID-19, or before Donald Trump’s election, but to build it back better than it’s ever been before.
Too many Detroiters have been impacted by this pandemic. Like Jason Hargrove, a 50-year-old father of six, who worked as a bus driver in Detroit. On March 21st, he posted a heartbreaking video to Facebook—about how he was worried he’d get sick while trying to serve the people of his city. Eleven days later, he lost his life to the coronavirus.
In addition to being more likely to work high-risk, critical jobs, Black and Brown employees have been more likely to be laid off or have hours slashed. A report from the University of Michigan found that “nearly half of Black Detroiters and a third of Latino Detroiters say they have lost their job due to the pandemic.”
And as we all know too well, businesses owned by Black and Brown entrepreneurs have been more likely to have to close down and less likely to receive the government assistance they need to keep paychecks flowing to their workers.
The coronavirus, itself, doesn’t discriminate. But it does lay bare our country’s existing inequities for all of us to see. They’re the same inequities that, after the killings of George Floyd and so many others, have motivated so many Americans of every background to confront the legacy of systemic racism that has been a stain on our nation for centuries.
At the moment when we most need a leader to bring us together, Donald Trump has chosen to divide us. While the injustices in our country have been made so much worse by Trump’s presidency, they are as old as America itself.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s Build Back Better plan brings racial equity into how the federal government makes choices that impacts and prioritizes the investment that we need in communities of color:
- His Small Business Opportunity Plan will mobilize $150 billion to transform the entrepreneurial dreams of Black and Brown Americans a reality.
- His Housing Plan will invest $640 billion to eliminate the racial homeownership gap, so we can start to close a racial wealth gap that has been built over centuries.