CHARLOTTE, NC — African-American businesses have born the brunt of economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden said during a campaign stop in Charlotte Wednesday afternoon.
“I believe we have a gigantic opportunity to fundamentally change systemic racism,” Biden said.
Biden’s comments were made as he addressed the Black Economic Summit in Charlotte Wednesday.
“We have to break a cycle,” Biden said. “The cycle that exists is that the African-American community by-in-large, finds itself at the bottom of the economic heap … when things are good. When things get bad, they’re the first ones in the hole. When things get better, they’re the last ones out.”
In a bid to help expand access to opportunity and well-paying jobs, a Biden administration would invest $70 billion in historically black colleges and universities, he said. The proposed investment would be made over a 10-year period with the goal of leveling the playing field when it comes to academic investment at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Biden also pledged to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour nationally.
“If you make less than $15 an hour working 40 hours a week, you’re making a wage under the poverty level,” Biden said. “No one in America should be working a 40-hour a week job and still be living in poverty.”
In addressing a question posed by an elementary teacher, Biden said he also supported expanding pre-K instruction and increasing teacher pay. “The more money you spend and the better you educate a child throughout the process, the better the community as a whole is,” he said.
Wednesday, the DC Democratic Party announced it was launching a campaign to help party campaign efforts in North Carolina. The Flip NC for DC campaign will include phone banks, text banks, postcarding, candidate meet-and-greets, and debate watch parties, the organization said in a statement.
“We have decided to focus our efforts on flipping North Carolina in order to utilize our volunteer base in the most targeted way,” DC Democratic Party Chairman, Charles Wilson, said.
The move in the state considered crucial in the upcoming election would also help D.C.’s quest for statehood, Wilson said.
“We felt that DC Democrats can have a huge impact on helping turn North Carolina blue, and in addition, the candidates we support can help us achieve DC statehood,” he said. “This is a win-win for both our states, and we are incredibly excited about this partnership.”