During a speech at the Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Sunday, the White House Democratic hopeful Michael Bloomberg has unveiled a plan to inject USD 70 billion in unprivileged, low-income communities across the nation.
Bloomberg pledged to increase the number of black homeowners and to double the number of African-American owned private businesses if he becomes President.
The presidential candidate explained that if elected, he would launch programs to secure the economic growth in 100 of the country’s poorest economies by investing in them over five years through a coordinated campaign.
The plan also included the establishment of a new Neighborhood Equity and Opportunity Office, based in the White House to coordinate the execution of the program.
Bloomberg told the parishioners at the church that he firmly believed that the next US President should make the issue of economic inequality a top priority. In his words, his plan to tackle racial economic inequality is a way of ”righting historic wrongs” and create real opportunities for black communities.
Speaking in front of the crowd, Bloomberg pointed out that his personal success story would have been possible only in America. He also added that it would not have been that easy to build his business if he was from the Afro-American origin. Bloomberg emphasized that many black people from his generation would have ended up with even more wealth, had they been white.
According to a national Washington Post-Ipsos poll released in January, Bloomberg has been struggling with attracting black voters. Data showed that the former Vice President Joe Biden has the support of 48% of the black voters nationwide, while Bloomberg had only 4%.
One possible explanation for his lack of popularity among the black communities could be his past support as New York mayor for a controversial policy known as “stop and frisk.”
Human rights activists and criminal justice lawyers heavily criticized it, highlighting that it was disproportionately targeting men of color. In August 2013, during his last year in office, a federal judge ruled that the policy had been used unconstitutionally. Bloomberg apologized for overseeing it.
Asked to comment on the Bloomberg’s lure to black voters, Mark Thompson, a veteran radio host, and NAACP activist said: ”You cannot just say sorry in 2020 when you have not said ”sorry” in the last decade.”
Although Bloomberg attended Oklahoma for the first time during his presidential campaign, his foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, granted USD 1 million to the city in 2019 to commission some temporary works of art accessible to the public.
What do you think? Do you believe that Michael Bloomberg’s nod to the Afro-American community would grant him their support?