SOUTH BEND, IN -- In an effort to grow support from the African American community, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, today, announced a full-scale policy plan aimed at uplifting and supporting black Americans.
The Douglass Plan, named in honor of Frederick Douglass, who called on America to better live up to its promise for all its people, lays out a detailed approach for how the federal government can intentionally dismantle racist structures and systems, in large part by making an unprecedented investment in the economic freedom and self-determination of Black Americans.
“We have lived in the shadow of systemic racism for too long,” said Buttigieg. “We've seen a rise in white nationalism, an economic gap between Black and white workers that grows instead of shrinks, and worse health outcomes for Black Americans, particularly new mothers, that should make us all wonder how the richest country on earth can allow this to happen under our noses."
"The Douglass Plan will help heal our deep racial divides with bold policies that match the scale of the crises we face today,” the openly gay candidate continued.
The plan (linked in full HERE) will focus on several key policy areas aimed at creating a more equitable America, including the following:
- On Health Care: Launch a National Health Equity Strategy. Establish and invest in Health Equity Zones, especially in communities with histories of redlining and economic and social marginalization. Address the underrepresentation of Black Americans in the health workforce and train our existing health workforce to combat bias–especially racial bias–when treating patients.
- On Education: Massively increase federal resources for students at Title I schools and incentivize state and local investments in middle school, high school, and college programs to increase readiness and competitiveness for Black students in STEM and other growing fields. Make public college tuition free for low-income students, increase dedicated resources for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority-Serving Institutions by $25 billion, and cancel the debts of borrowers in low-quality, overwhelmingly for-profit programs while holding predatory institutions accountable.
- On Entrepreneurship: Triple the number Black entrepreneursin 10 years and award 25% of all government contracts to minority business owners. Defer and forgive college loans for Pell-eligible students turned entrepreneurs who start and maintain a business within five years of leaving school. Ensure Black business owners and entrepreneurs have greater access to capital and credit, including by supercharging investment (5X) in minority-held depositories.
- On Criminal Justice: Reduce the incarceration rate by 50% at both the federal and state level, abolish private federal prisons, eliminate incarceration for drug possession and reduce sentences for other drug offenses (and apply reductions retroactively), and double federal funding for states that implement criminal justice reforms.
- On Housing: Pass a Community Homestead Act to foster asset ownership by enabling a public trust to purchase vacant and blighted properties and provide them to eligible residents in pilot cities while simultaneously investing in the revitalization of the surrounding neighborhoods.
- On Public Health, Infrastructure, and Environmental Justice: Expand enforcement of environmental protections and invest in solutions to environmental threats, focusing on communities of color and families who face disproportionate health effects from pollution, tainted water, and inadequate infrastructure. Create a 21st-century public health data system of health threats.
- On Voting Rights: Pass a 21st Century Voting Rights Act that ends voter suppression and expands voting access, including by makingregistration and voting easier by automatically registering eligible voters and allowing online and same-day registration. Restore voting rights to people who have been released from prison.
By reforming broken health, education, and criminal justice systems, strengthening access to credit, and injecting capital into the Black community, a Buttigieg Administration will take aggressive and bold steps toward fulfilling long-broken promises of true equality.
Read the full text of the Douglass Plan HERE.