Thursday, May 23, 2024
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President Biden has kept his promise to our community


President Joe Biden signs an executive order to advance policing and strengthen public safety in the East Room of the White House Complex on East Room on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

For the past several months, MAGA Republicans have peddled conspiracy theories and lies to distract us from the fact that they have no real plans to move our country forward.

But their extremism and lack of seriousness shouldn’t surprise us. They would rather spend their time debating the benefits of slavery or banning books about the Black experience than teaching our children the honest truth about our full history. They’ve spent their time standing in the way of progress and now they want to gaslight us into thinking that our best days are behind us.

While they try to use fear to divide us, we use hope to move our communities forward.

From jobs and infrastructure to education and health care, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have shown us that government can work for our community — and they’re just getting started.

COVID was rough for so many of us. Many in our neighborhoods lost jobs, and homes, and saw prices soar sky-high. Despite it all, President Biden and Vice President Harris have worked hard to turn the page on the failed economic policies of the past and rebuild the economy by empowering working people, investing in our communities, and supporting small businesses.

That’s what President Biden means when he says we’re rebuilding the economy from the bottom up and middle out — not the top down — and that’s exactly what Bidenomics is doing.

President Biden knows at the end of the day, the most important thing for all of us is being able to take care of our families. He knows that a job is about more than a paycheck, it’s about dignity.

Even as Republicans have tried to roll back progress at every turn, President Biden has helped create over 13 million new jobs, the lowest Black unemployment rate, and the highest Black labor force participation rate since 2008.

And thanks to the once-in-a-generation Inflation Reduction Act — which passed without a single Republican vote — we’ve capped the price of insulin at $35 per month for seniors and are lowering costs for prescription drugs.

That’s a big deal. Many of us have loved ones who suffer from diabetes — my grandfather had diabetes and ultimately lost his life to the disease. Now folks will be able to get the care they need without worrying about how they’re going to put food on the table or pay their bills.

We’ve also made historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure. We’re repairing our roads and bridges, and expanding access to high-speed internet because no parent should have to park outside McDonald’s so their kid can do their homework.

This progress is all the more remarkable when you remember that Republicans have fought tooth and nail to prevent it. Like they did during the Obama administration, from stalling aid for Black farmers to filibustering the John Lewis Voting Rights legislation, they have stood in the way – but that hasn’t stopped President Biden.

In the last year, we’ve seen them try to block student loan forgiveness — even as many of them had their PPP loans forgiven. But President Biden and Vice President Harris didn’t allow their obstruction to stop them from providing historic student loan debt relief, including for folks on Pell Grants. Like so many in our community, they made a way out of no way.

In our community, we know that Pell Grants are our ticket to an affordable college education — I was a Pell Grant kid, if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t have made it to college. This administration has forgiven over $116.6 billion for more than 3.4 million borrowers — and President Biden has forgiven more student loan debt than any president in history, despite Republicans’ best efforts to hold us back.

Democrats have put Black communities at the center of their agenda. They’ve appointed more Black judges to the appellate courts than all other presidents — combined. And they confirmed the first Black woman, Ketanji Brown Jackson, to serve as a United States Supreme Court Justice.

When Republicans stalled the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, President Biden used his executive power to ban federal chokeholds, limit no-knock entries, and pardon those convicted of simple federal marijuana possession.

Democrats delivered a historic $7.3 billion to our HBCUs. They protected our pensions. They’ve put Black maternal health equity at the forefront of their agenda.

President Biden and Vice President Harris have found a way out of no way to deliver historic results for our community — but they need our help to finish the job.

In 2020, Black voters were a critical part of the coalition that elected President Biden and Vice President Harris and we know that their votes are critical to winning a second term.

As a Black man, the husband of a Black woman, and the father of two Black boys, this isn’t something that I take lightly. I know what it feels like to have our community taken for granted and only have folks show up for us when they need our vote on Election Day. That’s why we’re putting the work in early to engage and mobilize Black voters well ahead of next year’s election.

On the ground, we are listening to what matters most to voters and sharing our accomplishments. And we will continue to put in the work to make sure that Black voters know what is at stake in 2024. It is a race between hope and fear. Hope must always prevail.

At every turn, these Republicans have tried to use fear to stop progress, but just as President Biden and Vice President Harris never let it stop them, neither will we.

We’re going to use hope to build a country where we all have the opportunity to reach our full potential. But to do that, we have to reelect President Biden, and elect Democrats to Congress to give him the support he needs to finish the job.


Jaime Harrison is the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

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