Kamala Harris, 100 Black Men, Atlanta

Vice President Kamala Harris Addresses Atlanta’s 100 Black Men Conference

Harris came to Atlanta as part of her economic opportunity tour.

Vice President Kamala Harris came to Atlanta on June 14 and addressed attendants of the 38th Conference of 100 Black Men as part of her economic opportunity tour. The event was moderated by Family Feud host Steve Harvey.

According to a press release issued by The 100 Black Men of America, Harris’s appearance was not an endorsement of Harris or of the Biden-Harris administration; rather it represented a chance to engage in a meaningful conversation about economic opportunity. 

As Georgia Public Broadcasting reports, Harris’s remarks referenced opportunities for small minority-owned businesses to obtain venture capital investment, home ownership, and debt prevention as well as policies that have been advanced by the Biden-Harris administration which aim to help close the racial wealth gap. 

“There are obstacles built into the system that have to be addressed to give people the opportunity—and it’s not about a handout,” the vice president told the crowd. “It’s about saying, ‘Give people the opportunity to compete, give hardworking people the opportunity to get ahead and not just get by.’”

Harris’s trip to Atlanta marked the second time she has visited the city on her economic opportunity tour; she is expected to again visit Atlanta on June 18 to discuss gun violence.

The trip in April, according to a White House fact sheet, highlighted a $158 million investment from the Biden-Harris Administration given to Atlanta through its Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Program, the first such program offered by the federal government. According to the fact sheet, The Stitch, the moniker given to the project, represents infrastructure projects awarded in 40 states. 

It has been well-documented that the invention of America’s highway system meant the deaths of thriving Black communities and neighborhoods. According to civil rights lawyer and law professor Deborah Archer, “The interstate highway system stands as a….physical realization of our racialized norms and values. Highways were built through and around Black communities to physically entrench racial inequality and protect white spaces and privilege.”

According to the fact sheet, the economic opportunity tour represents an attempt from the Biden-Harris administration to grapple with and put resources towards addressing this history.

“The Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Program is yet another way the Biden-Harris administration is advancing economic opportunity, while taking on the legacy of harm in communities that have grappled with decades of disinvestment or economic distress,” the White House said. “The administration is focused on supporting economic comebacks in communities across the country; especially those that have suffered from decades of disinvestment.”

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