Biden vows to fight racial, economic inequality in Wilmington speech

Presumptive Democratic president nominee Joe Biden makes remarks in Wilmington on Tuesday afternoon. (Delaware State News/Craig Horleman)

WILMINGTON — Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday described his Build Back Better economic plank as “a bold, practical plan that will help build a stronger, more just, more sustainable economy where everyone is included in the deal.”

Mr. Biden spoke at the William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center in Wilmington, and maintained that “For generations, Americans who are Black, Brown, Native American, immigrant, haven’t always been fully included in our democracy or our economy.”

Referencing the late Rev. C.T. Vivian and Congressman John Lewis as “civil rights heroes” Mr. Biden spoke of a conversation with Mr. Lewis just prior to his death where he “asked that we stay focused on the work left undone to heal this nation.

“To remain undaunted by the public health crisis and the economic crisis that has taken the blinders off the crisis of systemic racism that still plagues this nation.”

Criminal justice reform and police reform boost the potential of minority communities under stress, and said a recent meeting with Wilmington faith and local leaders showed that “The common theme was how do we break the cycle — in good times, communities of color still lag, in bad times, they get hit first and the hardest and in recovery, take the longest to bounce back.”

Pointing to minority struggles during the pandemic, Mr. Biden noted that Black and Latino people have been three times likelier to be infected and twice more likely to die from COVID-19 as white people.

The Black unemployment rate stands at 15%, Latino at 14.5%, and Mr. Biden said around 440,000 Black-owned businesses (more than 40%) have reportedly been shuttered.

Under Mr. Biden’s Build Back Better plan, the infusion of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal investments would match the “energy, pride, and achievement of communities of color.”

Doing so would “rebuild those roads, fill the sidewalk cracks, install broadband to close the digital divide, and create spaces to live, work and play safely.

“Where they can drink clean water, breathe clean air, and shop at nearby grocery stores that stock fresh and healthy food.”

Mr. Biden touted the creation of a Small Business Opportunity Fund. and taking $30 billion from Made in America investments that “will allow us to expand federal support for the most effective state, local and nonprofit programs that provide venture capital and financing for minority business owners and communities in need.”

According to Mr. Biden, “That $30 billion will leverage $150 billion in new financing and equity for more Black and Brown small businesses.”

In his remarks, Mr. Biden maintained that “just 12% of Black and Brown businesses surveyed seeking help got the aid they asked for,” in the small business-focused COVID-relief program.

Following the announcement, Delaware State Chairman for the Trump-Pence 2020 Re-Election Campaign Rob Arlett released a statement that read:

“Delawareans have a clear choice in November; President Trump’s Great American Comeback with law and order, or Joe Biden’s lawless America to pair with a decimated economy.

“President Trump has already built the greatest economy the world has ever seen, and he’ll do it again.”

Taking questions from reporters, Mr. Biden said he’s announced many of his Build Back Better platforms in Delaware because “I’m home” and can work from his basement while communicating with staff and reaching 340 million television viewers with his message.

“I’m learning that the way people are viewing the news and absorbing the news these days is totally different than before so I find that it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference where you do it from as long as you do it safely.”

According to Republican Committee Chairman Michael Joyce in a release, “While Joe Biden refuses to condone the ongoing rioting and violence in Portland, Biden’s policies led to the mass incarceration of Black Americans.

“Meanwhile, President Trump has delivered results that matter for the Black community through bipartisan criminal justice reform, historic lows in unemployment, empowering Black parents with school choice, the creation of nearly 9,000 opportunity zones, and the largest increase in federal funding in history for HBCUs.”

On the protests, Mr. Biden said most demonstrators are “peaceful protesters” who don’t require a response from the federal government. “Arsonists and anarchists should be prosecuted,” he said, and “local law enforcement can do that.”