‘This Is About Justice’: Biden Ties Economic Revival to Racial Equity


The Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader, called Mr. Biden’s overarching proposal promising, but said he wanted to see Mr. Biden call for more far-reaching proposals to ensure that Black Americans frequently do business with the government.

“It’s the right direction,” he said. “I just want to see more, and I intend to push for more.”

Aimee Allison, the founder of She the People, a political advocacy group focused on women of color, said that the Biden campaign was taking encouraging steps on issues of economic, racial and gender “justice,” as she put it.

“Progressives, we had other candidates in the primary that we would look at as carrying some of these messages,” said Ms. Allison, who was often a Biden critic in the primary and said there are still issues he must address. “Now, the Biden campaign has showed an openness and willingness.”

A number of the policies highlighted in Mr. Biden’s proposal were already announced as part of other plans, like a housing proposal that would provide a tax credit of up to $15,000 for first-time home buyers, and a goal that disadvantaged communities receive 40 percent of the benefits of spending on clean energy infrastructure.

In contrast to the previous economic plans Mr. Biden outlined, which focused on major, transformational changes to certain sectors of the American economy, the proposal he unveiled on Tuesday was a broader effort seeking to emphasize the idea that racial justice is integral to his policy vision.

He began his address by invoking two icons of the civil rights era who recently died, Representative John Lewis and the Rev. C.T. Vivian, recounting the time he walked over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., with Mr. Lewis, and a conversation the two men had before Mr. Lewis died.

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“He asked that we stay focused on the work left undone to heal this nation,” Mr. Biden said. “To remain undaunted by the public health crisis and the economic crisis that’s taken the blinders off in this crisis and showed the systemic racism for what it is. ”



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