This weekend at Essence Fest, Senator Kamala Harris of California announced a comprehensive plan to address the racial wealth gap if elected president in 2020. The plan, which focuses on closing the racial wealth gap through homeownership, would give families and people of color assistance with buying homes in traditionally redlined communities through grants of up to $25,000.
Harris, reading the event as one geared toward encouraging and inspiring Black women, specifically addressed the group in her speech.
“Join me as we right what is wrong and write the next chapter of history in our country. The fight of Black women has always been fueled and grounded in faith and in the belief of what is possible. We have always built the future that we can see and believe in and fight for,” said Harris in her speech at Essence.
If enacted, the plan would increase the average wealth of Black households by about $32,000, and that of Latino households by about $29,000, according to The New York Times. It would also help approximately four million families with down payments and closing costs.
In addition to discussing her $100 million racial homeownership gap plan, Harris explained that closing the racial wealth gap was not enough, and that she had plans for correcting institutional racism at all levels, reports Essence.
“We cannot bridge the racial wealth gap just by addressing historical inequities, although we must do that, we also have to write the next chapter,” said Harris.
The former top prosecutor from California went on to reiterate her support for “Medicare For All,” and explained her signature plan to address maternal mortality with an emphasis on Black women. Finally, she expressed her support for educational investment specifically targeted toward HBCUs. The presidential hopeful herself is an alumnus of Howard University.
Harris was not the only 2020 presidential candidate to address the Essence Festival. Senator Cory Booker, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and former Representative Beto O’Rourke also gave speeches. Additionally, Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York gave brief addresses.