Former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Senator Kamala Harris are actively engaging with small businesses run by African American from battleground states including Michigan to North Carolina in an effort to understand the best ways to build the country back after the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden held a Black Economic Summit with NBA player and President of the National Basketball Players Association Chris Paul in Charlotte, North Carolina where he met with small business owners, workers, and others who are struggling to make ends meet. African Americans in particular currently face 13% unemployment. Small businesses in North Carolina have been devastated with 74% negatively impacted by COVID-19, 12% permanently closed and 11% of those businesses have reduced the number of employees. Keep in mind that Black-owned businesses have been hit even harder.
And on Tuesday, September 22, Senator Harris traveled to Detroit and Flint, Michigan to meet with Black small business owners who have been disproportionately impacted by Trump’s failed COVID response. While in Flint, she made unannounced stops at three Black-owned small businesses: MagnifiClips, Comma Bookstore and Bedrock Apparel.
In Detroit, the California Senator held a “Shop Talk” event with Black men leaders at a Black-owned barber shop. In addition, she met with community leaders, during multiple stops across the state to discuss the policies of a Biden-Harris administration.
“Biden and Harris recognize that Black-owned businesses operate as staples of their respective communities, and that the current administration is not prioritizing the success of Black entrepreneurs,” said Kamau Marshall, director of Strategic Communications for the Biden/Harris campaign.
“A Biden-Harris administration would reverse that narrative by doing the work to ensure that Black business owners in this country are provided the same opportunities for economic advancement and wealth accumulation as other groups, so they can not only recover from the current economic crisis, but come back stronger than before."
According to the Detroit Press, Harris said while speaking from a parking lot outside the Pistons Performance Center in Detroit, "I do believe a path toward victory in this election runs straight through Michigan.”
She also added, “We will keep coming back because so goes Michigan, so goes the rest of the country, as far as we are concerned."
Biden and Harris have also launched a small business and entrepreneurs advisory council. According to The Washington Post, the council will include Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s, the executive founder of Kind Snacks Daniel Lubetzky, the executive founder of Kind Snacks, former Obama administration SBA administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, former Obama Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Andrew Yang and others.
See the ad below, which features Anthony Jefferson who owns a small business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In what seems like convenient timing, President Donald Trump announced his own event today, which is called Black Economic Empowerment: The Platinum Plan that will take place on Friday, September 25 in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)