Notes from Joe: "Daddy Changed the World"

Breonna Taylor.
Ahmaud Arbery.
George Floyd.

These are just a few of the Black lives tragically cut short this year. They join a list of names that dates back more than 400 years in this country, and more will likely join this list before we, as a nation, do what it takes to end it.

No one should fear that they could lose their life just by living their life. No one should be denied an opportunity or face discrimination because of the color of their skin. People everywhere are finally waking up to the fact that these are the harsh realities for many Black Americans.

We need to act. It’s far past time.

I believe that we have the opportunity to reform our justice system, tackle systemic racism and hate, and change lives for the better. With your help, that’s exactly what a Biden-Harris Administration will do.

Kamala and I will push for sweeping reforms across our criminal justice system. We’ll address the use of excessive force, ban chokeholds, and overhaul no-knock warrants. We’ll ensure the U.S. Justice Department has the power needed to effectively investigate systemic misconduct in police departments and prosecutors’ offices — and reinvigorate community-oriented policing so officers are out of their cruisers and walking the streets, engaging with and getting to know members of their communities.

Our administration will work to end mandatory minimums and private prisons, reform our broken cash bail system, and decriminalize the use of cannabis. And let me be clear: we need to help people with mental health challenges or substance use disorders receive treatment — not a prison sentence.

Together, we can reduce the number of people incarcerated in this country while also reducing crime.

From day one, our administration will advance racial equity across our economy. I encourage you to read our detailed plan, but here are some key takeaways: we’ll bolster resources for minority-owned small businesses, expand job training programs, raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, fight for pay equity, and increase access to homeownership for families of color.

Right now, we have a health care system where Black Americans are more likely to be uninsured and have chronic health problems due to a lack of access to affordable care. A system where Black Americans are dying at double the rate of white Americans from COVID-19. A system where Black women are far more likely to die during childbirth.

We have to deal with these glaring disparities. Our plan will expand health insurance coverage, lower health care costs, address unacceptably high maternal mortality rates, and double investments in community health centers. And rather than gutting Obamacare, as President Trump is trying to do, we’ll strengthen it and expand health coverage to more Americans.

A Biden-Harris Administration will also tackle racial inequities in our education system, environment, and access to the ballot. This means putting tens of billions of dollars into our Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions, working with local leaders to determine what their community needs to deal with the climate crisis, and making voting in predominantly Black communities easier — not harder.

The bottom line: Kamala and I have a comprehensive plan to root out systemic racism across the board.

But I also believe we have to root our hate and division in our hearts. We have to come together and heal. We have to restore the soul of the nation.

I decided to run for president after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, when neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the KKK with torches in hand descended on the city.

Over and over again, this president has given oxygen to hate and division. Just the other week, as we stood on the debate stage, he refused to condemn white supremacists, and he told an extremist group to “stand back and stand by.” Absolutely shameful.

I often think about the words of George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, Gianna, who looked at me and said, “Daddy changed the world.”

I think about Doc Rivers, the basketball coach, who held back tears when he said, “It’s amazing to me why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back.”

I think about what it takes for a Black person to love America. That is a deep love for this country that, for far too long, has not been recognized.

It’s time for leadership that recognizes that love — that works to fulfill our founding promise: equality for all.

– Joe