• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Biden actions that Black Americans can be thankful for this holiday season

Biden actions that Black Americans can be thankful for this holiday season

As Black Americans across the country gather to be with family and loved ones this holiday season, the White House is lifting up actions taken by the Biden-Harris administration that they can be thankful for this year.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, spokesperson for President Joe Biden, recently chatted with theGrio to highlight achievements the administration believes are making a difference in the lives of Black Americans.

“We believe this Thanksgiving, there’s a lot to be thankful for,” said Jean-Pierre during a recent phone interview. “We still have work to do, but we’ve made some progress, and it’s important to point that out.”

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris introduces President Joe Biden during an event about their administration’s work to regulate artificial intelligence in the East Room of the White House on Oct. 30, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Lowering costs and creating Black wealth

Despite global inflation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, the price of a Thanksgiving meal this year is cheaper than last year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The cost of essential food like turkey, eggs, whole milk, cranberries, and pie crust is down. 

Jean-Pierre also noted that gas prices are down by $1.70 from their peak, airline tickets are down about 13% over last year, and car rental costs are down about 10%.

The Biden spokesperson added, “And because wages are rising, Thanksgiving dinner is the fourth cheapest ever as a percentage of average earnings.”

Lowering costs remains a top economic priority for the president, said Jean-Pierre, who pointed out other actions taken by the administration to ease the pain of the pocketbook for Black households, including tackling junk fees imposed by banks and companies and lowering insulin prices to a cap of $35 per month. 

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House Nov. 20, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The White House press secretary also highlighted that since taking office in January 2021, the Black unemployment rate dropped from 9.2% to 5.9%. She explained, “2.3 million more Black Americans are employed.”

Jean-Pierre called attention to the average Black net worth increasing by 60% since the pandemic.  

However, despite lowering costs, the wealth gap between Black and white households remains significantly wide. 

“We’re going to continue to create wealth for Black families,” said Jean-Pierre. She said the Biden-Harris administration is ensuring that Black businesses are seeing significant benefits from the record $163 billion in federal procurement opportunities for small businesses, which will, in turn, help create and expand wealth for Black families.

Jean-Pierre said the White House is also continuing to combat housing discrimination and improve the pathways for Black Americans to access homeownership, which is key to wealth creation.

A snapshot of how Black Americans are fairing in Biden’s economy

Combating racism and police brutality

When President Biden took office nearly three years ago, he vowed to prioritize four crises, one of which was tackling racial inequality. Jean-Pierre said part of that work has been speaking out against Republican “extremism” to roll back Black freedoms, including efforts to ban books by Black authors and restrict the teaching of Black history in public schools.

The Department of Education is taking that very seriously,” said Jean-Pierre, who noted that the federal agency hired a book ban czar to monitor the growing censorship of books. She rejected the efforts by Republicans who are “taking away our freedoms [and] freedoms for our children to learn about our history.

Flanked by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris (left) and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona (right), U.S. President Joe Biden attends a meeting of the Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access in the State Dining Room of the White House Oct. 4, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“The good parts of our history and the difficult parts of our history,” she added. “We’re going stand on the side of a majority of Americans that want us to speak to this and to fight for the freedoms of every American in this country.”

The issue of police brutality and hate-fueled violence has continued to plague Black communities across the country. The rising incidents committed by law enforcement and civilian wrongdoers during the Black Lives Matter uprisings in 2020 were a springboard for President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ campaign.

In the absence of police reform legislation from Congress, President Biden signed an executive order to advance police accountability on the federal level. In hopes of setting a federal standard that is adopted by state and local law enforcement, the order bans chokeholds, restricts no-knock warrants, and mandates the use of body cameras, among other measures. 

“That should show the American people what the president did and is trying to do, and we’re going to work with our federal agencies to continue to make progress to get this done,” said Jean-Pierre, “because we feel that Black and brown communities should feel that they are protected and that they are safe.”

Gerren Keith Gaynor

Gerren Keith Gaynor is a White House Correspondent and the Managing Editor of Politics at theGrio. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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