STREAM EXCLUSIVE ORIGINALS

‘What's at Stake?’: BET News Hosts Critical Election Special with Leading Black Politicians

In an urgent discourse on the 2024 election, BET News convenes with Congresswomen Maxine Waters, Joyce Beatty, and Jasmine Crockett to discuss pivotal issues facing Black Americans—from economic policies to gun control.

As the 2024 election rapidly approaches, with many crucial issues at play, BET News hosted a meaningful conversation titled “What’s at Stake” with three influential Black politicians.

 Moderated by journalist Ed Gordon, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ohio Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, and Texas Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett engaged in a powerful discussion about the current state of politics regarding Black Americans.

 According to Gordon, hosting events like these encourages crucial dialogue about the state of our country.

 “We have had what many believe and see as an attack on democracy, " Gordon said. “So the idea of presenting your case as a party is of utmost importance.”

The conversation focused on four key issues that will be decisive in the upcoming election: the economy, reproductive rights, the future of Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policies, and gun violence.

Starting with the economy, the discussion focused on investments in Black communities by past and present White House administrations.

Congresswoman Crockett emphasized theBiden administration's student loan debt relief plan, in which the president approved the cancellation of $9 billion in student loan debt for more than 100,000 qualified Americans. The Congresswoman pointed out that this historical loan forgiveness plan has helped Black Americans by decreasing their debt-to-income ratio, which allowed them to qualify for home loans that build generational wealth. 

 The attendees then transitioned to a conversation about reproductive rights, which proved to be an extremely decisive issue during the 2022 midterm elections. As reported by Politico, abortion continues to be a central issue, especially in red-leaning or battleground states.

 The congresswomen expressed concern about the potential re-election of former president Donald Trump in 2024, implying that his return to office has the potential to bring about a federal abortion ban. The discussion then turned to another controversial topic: the future of DEI policies.

Congresswoman Crockett emphasized that higher education institutions are targets for DEI threats, citing her experience with Texas’ predominantly white institutions (PWIs). 

 “They rely upon Black folk to play football and make sure their program is amazing, basketball, and they’re all good with that,” Crockett said. “But when it comes to making sure that they are admitting diverse students and making sure that they have their proper place, or even making sure that the administration is reflective of the student body, they don’t want that.” 

 The discussion closed out with a focus on the topic of gun violence, specifically rising crime rates in Black communities. The congresswomen brought attention to the lack of gun control laws and highlighted legislation proposed by Democrats to restrict gun access.

 However, according to Representative Beatty, Republican officials have greatly thwarted these efforts, remarking that she “puts that blood on their hands.”

 As the 2024 presidential election approaches, many Americans are discouraged and believe neither candidate has their best interest in mind. One voter interviewed for the special stated, “I don’t feel either of them represent what I’m looking for.”    

Addressing this, Congresswoman Waters urged people to educate themselves on government processes, from local to federal elections. Representative Beatty also encouraged an “old school” approach, promoting activism and the mobilization of Black voters. 

“We need to do what we’ve done for generations -  marching, making signs and getting people excited,” Beatty told BET News. “But we also have a new generation of individuals that we need to mobilize.”

Watch the special on June 4th, 10 pm/9c on BET!

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