Urban News Staff Reports
New Jersey U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez were on hand too unveil the Economic Justice Act on Thursday. The legislative proposal would make $350 billion in investments in Black communities and other communities of color.
If passed the act would provide major funding over the next five years to critical resources for Black communities across the nation including public health, child care, infrastructure, and job creation.
The Economic Justice Act aims to immediately help communities of color respond to the COVID-19 pandemic through a $135 billion investment in child care, mental health and primary care, and jobs, and to build wealth and health in these communities over the next five years by investing $215 billion as a down payment for infrastructure, a homeowner down payment tax credit, Medicaid expansion, and more.
“The coronavirus pandemic has not only exposed, but also exacerbated, the deep, structural racial inequities that have been taking the lives and livelihoods of people of color, and Black Americans in particular, for centuries,” said Booker. “Righting these wrongs will take deliberate and sustained effort and investment, and we can’t afford to go back to what was accepted as normal before the pandemic began. This proposal is an important step forward in building a new normal and an economy that truly works for every American.”
Mendez said the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the “ugly truths” about inequalities and injustices the Black community has to deal with.
“The pandemic has presented us with an historic opportunity to invest in our communities, our children, our families and our infrastructure, so we can address the social, economic, educational and health care disparities facing low-income and communities of color while building back better, fairer, smarter and more prepared for the future,” Menendez said.
National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial said the Economic Justice Act would systematic disadvantages that has historically left many African Americans struggling.
“The Economic Justice Act is the first comprehensive and targeted effort to break down the systems that exacerbate every economic crisis and deny the benefits of every economic upturn for African Americans,” Morial said. “We applaud Leader Schumer and his colleagues for a forward-looking approach that incorporates many of the goals the National Urban League has pursued for decades. This economy will only recover when we address the critical issues of childcare, healthcare, infrastructure, homeownership, and access to capital. The Economic Justice Act is a bold plan that sets the table for any real discussion of social and economic justice in this country.”