WASHINGTON – The Black Economic Alliance announced its second round of candidate endorsements today in key federal and statewide races across the country. This latest slate of endorsements includes ten Congressional, three Senate, and two gubernatorial candidates who are committed to advancing economic opportunity for Black Americans: Colin Allred (TX-32), Joe Cunningham (SC-01), Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Brendan Kelly (IL-12), Elaine Luria (VA-02), Kathy Manning (NC-13), Clarke Tucker (AR-02), and Lauren Underwood (IL-14); Phil Bredesen (TN-SEN), Mike Espy (MS-SEN), and Beto O’Rourke (TX-SEN); and James Smith (SC-GOV) and Tom Wolf (PA-GOV).
Over the past few weeks, the Black Economic Alliance has endorsed candidates in nationally-watched races that will define the 2018 election cycle and who are committed to advancing economic opportunity for Black Americans. These champions of Black economic progress, when elected, will have the power to make meaningful change in the halls of Congress and at the state level on a host of critical issues for Black Americans – such as workforce development and job training, securing equal access to finance and credit, and ensuring equal opportunity for home ownership.
“These candidates are proven leaders in the fight to expand access to the American Dream for Black families, and we’re proud to stand with them to promote the kind of sorely-needed policies that will help Black Americans and Black communities thrive,” said Charles Phillips, Co-Chair of the Black Economic Alliance. “The Black Economic Alliance came together for just this reason – to bridge the gap between these candidates and the people who will be affected by the policies they make, so that we can increase work, wages, and wealth for Black people in this country. We look forward to working with these talented candidates and additional candidates we will announce in the coming days.”
Led by a group of business executives and proven job-creators from a wide range of industries who want to promote an economic agenda that expands opportunity in the Black community, the Black Economic Alliance launched its 2018 multimillion-dollar effort last month with its endorsements of gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams (GA), Richard Cordray (OH), and Ben Jealous (MD), and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (VA). The group will contribute directly to campaigns, develop economic messaging targeted towards Black voters, and work with on-the-ground partners to get out the vote.
Nationwide, Black communities remain hamstrung by systemic inequities, and those inequities are only growing larger. A recent report released by the Center for American Progress details the staggering economic impacts of the persistent, policy-driven wealth gap between Black and Caucasian families. If we continue along the current path, without substantive, meaningful policy changes, “leaving wealth inequality to market forces would likely create a massive gulf in economic opportunity and security by race.” Burdened with more costly debt and with less access to critical savings vehicles, the deck is stacked against Black communities – and the visionary leaders which the Black Economic Alliance has endorsed will play a key role in leveling the playing field to provide access for all to the American Dream.
“Now more than ever, it’s critical to have champions of Black economic progress in the halls of Congress and in our states,” said Akunna Cook, Executive Director of the Black Economic Alliance. “The statistics are startling. With 22% of Black Americans living below the poverty line, homeownership amongst Black families stagnant for the past 50 years, and only 6% of Blacks holding the high wage tech jobs of the future, it’s time for policies that will even the playing field and give Black Americans the opportunities we need. The candidates we’ve endorsed will do just that.”
Black voters have already proven to be a critical demographic for 2018 special elections – notably in Alabama, where the Black vote played a key role in Doug Jones’ upset victory. The Black Economic Alliance is particularly focused on highly competitive races in states and districts with a significant Black population where turnout among Black voters could be similarly decisive — and where the data analytics have shown this kind of investment will have an impact.
“While the Black Economic Alliance is not a social justice organization, we believe we need to do much more to ensure Black Americans can access and benefit from the American Dream. Helping people who work hard and want to pull themselves up by their bootstraps to achieve happiness is about as American a theme as there ever was,” said Dr. Tony Coles, Co-Chair of the Black Economic Alliance. “This is a rising tide that will lift all boats. To the extent that we can lift opportunity for Black Americans, all working Americans will benefit.”