Newark, NJ — At the Black Economic Alliance Presidential Forum in Charleston, South Carolina, over the weekend, Cory Booker received a standing ovation after speaking about his experiences living in a low-income community in Newark, his Baby Bonds proposal, and his ideas for expanding opportunity in Black communities.
Ahead of the forum, Cory wrote an op-ed in BET on the importance of investing in Black entrepreneurs and Black small businesses. Read the op-ed here and see below for coverage of Cory’s remarks.
New York Times: Democratic Candidates Promise to Close Wealth Gap Between Blacks and Whites
The candidates, former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., each asked a packed house of South Carolina Democrats to buy into a vision of how to lift up black communities, particularly regarding “work, wages and wealth,” the principal theme of the event.
“This isn’t just about African-American communities,” Mr. Booker said. “You cannot have a large segment of the population denied equal access to markets or capital or health care, and not think that is a cancer that affects the body as a whole.”
Mr. Booker and Ms. Warren, whose campaign has been on the rise in recent weeks, both received standing ovations at the forum hosted by the Black Economic Alliance, a group formed in 2017 by black civic and business leaders.
Washington Post: Workers’ Protest, Candidate Forum Put Spotlight On Race And Economic Inequality
At the forum, four candidates — former congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) — outlined competing visions for how to shrink the glaring wealth gap.
They spoke, too, about the disparities in economic opportunity, which makes it harder for African Americans to secure business loans, complete college or attain many of the things that make upward mobility possible.
[…] “You cannot have large sections of your population denied equal access to markets, equal access to capital, equal access to health care,” Booker told the crowd, saying the inequality had a negative effect on all Americans, not just black ones. “You can’t have that cancer and think it doesn’t affect the body as a whole.”
HuffPost: 2020 Candidates Pitch Plans To Help Black Americans At South Carolina Forum
Booker, the last candidate to speak who also got a standing ovation, described his experiences living in a low-income community in Newark, New Jersey, where he previously served as mayor.
He pitched his legislation to create a “baby bonds” program, one that would give lower-income kids a sizable nest egg (nearly $50,000 in some cases) by the age of 18 that they could use for wealth-building purchases, like a down payment on a house or college tuition. And he stressed the need for more affordable housing.
“If you are going to start singing the song ‘Home of the Brave,’ we have to make sure working Americans have a home and a roof over their head and for their children,” he said.
[…] Angela Thompson, who works for a telecommunications company in Rock Hill, South Carolina, called Warren “very relatable” and “personable,” crediting her and Booker for their policy chops. But she said she felt Buttigieg was “a little young.”
Axios: Black Economic Alliance forum: 2020 Hopefuls Vow To Close Wealth Gap
The big picture: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) was the only other 2020 candidate at the event to get a standing ovation, the New York Times reports. He told the crowd his baby bonds plan to open a $1,000 savings account for every child born in the U.S. would “virtually eliminate the racial wealth gap” for young people, per CNN.
Post and Courier: Democratic 2020 Hopefuls Vie For African American Support In SC Ahead Of Party Convention
The big thing: As the only African-American to participate in the forum, Booker personalized his appeal to voters in a way that his white counterparts could not. “I am the only person in the United States who lives in a black and brown inner city community below the poverty line,” Booker said. “My whole professional life has been dealing with these issues and you can’t separate them out.”
Plan to address white-black wealth gap: Booker said his strategy as president will be a “full-court press” when it comes to housing, education, access to capital and health care. Booker cited his “baby bonds” plan to close the racial wealth gap. Under the plan, the federal government would give newborn babies in the United States a savings accounts, starting with $1,000. Over time, he said the account would grow, depending on the income of the child’s family. By the time the child turns 18, the account could grow to as large as $50,000, which Booker said could be used toward things like buying a home, “things that we know create generational wealth,” he said.
Biggest applause: When Booker said action is needed immediately ensuring that people who work full-time make a living wage.
Vox: Black Voters Want 2020 Candidates To Talk About The Economy. At The Black Economic Alliance Forum, They Did Just That.
The final speaker at the forum was Booker, who pointed to the fact that as a black man who lives in and represents a low-income black and brown community, he intimately understands the issues faced by black Americans, specifically citing the need to address issues like mass incarceration and affordable housing.
“This isn’t just about African American communities,” Booker said. “You cannot have a large segment of the population denied equal access to markets or capital or health care, and not think that is a cancer that affects the body as a whole.”
As for policy, Booker largely focused on promoting his “baby bonds” plan, which would create a savings account for all newborn children in the US, with yearly federal contributions to the account decreasing as parental income increases. The Times notes that Booker was also one of the more well-received candidates to the forum, and that he was the only other candidate to receive a standing ovation.