A group of 100 prominent Black men have signed a statement of solidarity calling on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to select an African-American woman as his vice presidential running mate.
The group, which stretches across several fields includes rap empresario Sean “Diddy” Combs; radio personality Charlamagne Tha God; film producer Will Packer; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul; University of Virginia medical school dean Marcus Martin; North Carolina assembly member Derwin Montgomery and commentator Van Jones among many others.
Biden said months ago that his vice presidential pick would be a woman and he is expected to make an announcement of who his choice will be this week, ahead of the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.
Several Black women are among those said to be on Biden’s shortlist including California Sen. Kamala Harris, former Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice; Florida Rep. Val Demings, California Rep. Karen Bass, and voting rights advocate and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
But the group of men, who made the joint statement in solidarity with 700 Black women who also signed a letter calling for a Black woman vice presidential nominee, called out what they said was unfair criticism of the Black women being considered for the position.
“Was Joe Biden ever labeled "too ambitious" because he ran for president three times,” the statement reads, in part. “Should President ObamaPnot have made him the VP because he had to worry about his "loyalty" when he clearly had AMBITIONS to be president himself? Why does Senator Kamala Harris have to show remorse for questioning Biden's previous stance on integrated busing during a democratic primary debate?”
The statement also saves some criticism for Biden himself, recalling his past record on issues critical to the African American community.
“Have Democratic Party leaders, allies, or donors ever required Joe Biden to show remorse for the 1986 or 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse bills, which established mandatory minimum sentencing and subsequently crack cocaine sentencing disparities, and by his own admission, led to mass incarceration? What about the 1994 Crime Bill,” the statement reads.
“Let’s be clear about the kind of remorse and reckoning that matters in 2020 when the Black community is still suffering the consequences for these oppressive measures,” it continues. “So, Black women are the only ones required to stay in their place and to show remorse for even questioning their own oppression?”
The statement warns that without the choice of an African American woman, Biden will lose the 2020 election.
“We don't want to choose between the lesser of two evils and we don't want to vote the devil we know versus the devil we don't because we are tired of voting for devils—period”
Photo Credit: MANDEL NGAN / AFP