Things That Matter

Kamala Harris Proposes Ambitious $100 Billion Grant Program To Close Racial Gap In Homeownership

Democratic Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a California Senator, has recently proposed a $100 billion federal grant solution to help address the racial wealth gap for Black Americans. The crux of the solution is centered in homeownership. She wants to help pay for down payments and closing costs for families of color that are still affected by redline segregation-era practices. She announced her plan Saturday at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, which aims to lift up Black women.

“That not only lifts up black America, that lifts up all of America,” she told the crowd.

The plan would help at least 4 million families that are living in those areas that were redlined. Redlining is the term used to describe Jim Crow laws that limited black families’ abilities to take out loans to buy homes. Redlining effectively set boundaries on where those families could live, and, generations later, those families continue to suffer.

The plan also includes a crucial policy change that would raise credit scores for many minority families.

Credit: @KamalaHarris / Twitter

Her plan is to change federal policy that would count rent payments and utility bill payments toward credit scores, effectively raising credit scores for POC. The plan would give families of color assistance with buying homes in neighborhoods they had been racially biased from living it by offering grants up to $25,000.

The plan would increase the average wealth of Latino households by $29,000.

Credit: @KamalaHarris / Twitter

It would also increase the average wealth of Black households by about $32,000, according to The New York Times. By aiding with down payments and closing costs, it allows families to buy homes that they could pay off with their existing monthly income, rather than requiring tens of thousands of dollars in savings before ownership.

Of course, Fox News is already screaming their heads off about reverse racism.

Credit: @Bakari_Sellers / Twitter

Unlike offering home loans that families can’t afford, which caused the 2008 housing crisis, this plan seeks to make true reparations for Black families that were prevented from owning homes due to Jim Crow laws.

Thankfully, folks are clapping back at the #whitesplaining.

Credit: @L82twatmytweet / Twitter

Instead of discussing the issue at hand–reparations for redlining–Tucker Carlson and his gang talked about how it would be racist to white people by not including them in the conversation. If white folks were included in the conversation, it would be as perpetrators of racist systemic oppression, but Kamala Harris is focusing on justice for black folks, not punishing white folks.

Some people are generally concerned over “race-baiting” policies.

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We see you Pan Dulce. There are over 40 million Black folks in the United States, and several responded to Harris’ tweet with concern that this only helps 10 percent of the population. Of course, the 4 million that would be helped are a diverse group of POC that are descendants of those that were racially segregated. That’s several generations of POC paying rent to a landlord instead of owning a home they could pass onto the next generation, to give them a leg up in the world. When reparations aren’t made, families remain static, instead of progressing.

Just one example of a certified Doctorate in Reverse Racism.

Credit: @EddieDonovan / Twitter

We don’t know what your Ph.D. is in, Mr. Eddie Donovan, but it certainly isn’t in systemic injustice or empathy. Hope you had fun leaving that little winky face at the end of a tone-deaf comment, though. Harris’s plan aims to undo generations of unfair and racist practices that hurt Black and brown communities. The same plans being proposed were once used exclusively for white communities so it is just a way to even the playing field.

Harris is tackling systemic injustice alongside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in other ways, too.

Credit: @KamalaHarris / Twitter

Just this week, the duo introduced a bill that would reduce recidivism through housing after incarcerated individuals leave the system. America has the highest percentage of our population behind bars than any other country in the world. Many of the laws that place folks in jail started out as Jim Crow laws and have simply evolved to become more insidiously racist.

Regardless of those offended by the proposal, people are coming out in droves to support the effort.

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Keep it going, Harris. #BlackWomenMagic

A Univision poll showed that Kamala Harris support by Latinos more than doubled from 6 percent to 22 percent after the debates.

@KamalaHarris / Twitter

The poll only included 411 Latino voters and showed Kamala Harris in the lead with 22 percent. Castro was behind her with 18 percent, and Biden and Sanders were tied at 16 percent.

READ: Don. Jr. Said Kamala Harris Wasn’t Black Enough And Democratic Presidential Candidates Are Not Having It

Mexico is Turning Old Factories Into Shelters to Help Stranded Asylum Seekers at the Border

Things That Matter

Mexico is Turning Old Factories Into Shelters to Help Stranded Asylum Seekers at the Border

A huge story that we’ve been following all year has to do with the thousands of asylum seekers at the border of Mexico and the United States. These migrants have traveled mostly by foot over hundreds of miles from Central America in order to find safety away from dangerous homes. However, instead of being able to seek asylum in America a decades’ old process implemented by the US government these South American immigrants have been stuck in limbo at the border. 

The radical changes to the asylum process brought on by the Trump administration has left these individuals with no home and no hope for one in the near future. Instead, the Border Security Agency has kept thousands of asylum seekers in captivity. These detentions facilities are over packed, lacking basic amenities and separate children from their families. In short, America has truly abandoned these people. However, Mexico is working to clean up the mess left behind by the Trump Administration. 

The Mexican government is converting empty factories near the border to house asylum seekers turned away from the US. 

Twitter / @LatinoUSA

In a report by “Mother Jones,” we are now getting our first look at these facilities. Converted from an old maquiladora, the Leona Vicario Migrant Integration Center now acts as a shelter along the Mexican border. The center opened its doors about 4 months ago as the first of many shelters planned by the Mexican government in order to house displaced migrants. Currently, Leona Vicario Migrant Center provides a temporary home for 600 Central Americans. 

Converting these factories is meant to combat an issue created by the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols program. 

Twitter / @HispanicCaucus

Also known as “Remain in Mexico,” under this new program, asylum seekers are denied entry into the United States and are instead forced to stay in Mexico during their asylum proceedings. The process of seeking asylum can take many months or even years, leaving these migrants without a home or resolution. Since the Migrant Protection Protocols program was began back in January 2019, more than 50,000 asylum seekers have been sent back to Mexico.

The decision to create residential housing out of these old factories came after President Trump threatened Mexico with steep tariffs if the government continued to allow asylum seekers to reach the border. These tariffs would devastate the Mexican economy so their government conceded to the USA’s demands. “Any expense we incur in building shelters like this one will be far less than what the tariffs would cost us,” Mexico’s Labor Undersecretary, Horacio Duarte Olivares, said at Leona Vicario’s opening ceremony.

Though Leona Vicario is obviously a re-purposed factory, there are clear signs that the space is attempting to mimic homes that these asylum seekers have lost.

Twitter / @DocBearOMD

A mural of Central American and Mexican flags adorns one of the center’s walls. This image is bordered by colorful hand prints from Leona Vicario’s first residents in an attempt to bring some color to the concrete floors and cinder block walls. The facility managers’ of the center attempt to bring some joy to the lives of the asylum seekers by organizing holiday celebrations and different workshops. 

About half of the center’s population is made up of children of various ages. A makeshift nursery is communally watched over by the mothers of the migrant group. In another room, a temporary school has been established to help supplement the education that the children are being deprived of. 

Outside the building, a giant camo-painted food truck is run by members of the Mexican military in order to provide meals to those housed at the facility. They even have a second tortilladora truck to pump out the thousands of tortillas eaten every day. 

Centers like Leona Vicario are still an experiment and are not meant to be a long term solution for these families who are returned to Mexico. 

Twitter / @MotherJones

When migrants first arrive at the border, they are usually held for a few weeks before being returned to Mexican land. Usually, they are not even aware of what is happening and still think they are in the United States. The hope with centers like Leona Vicario is that asylum seekers who are returned to Mexico can acclimate themselves to their new surroundings. These centers are only meant to house each group of migrants for two weeks at a time. That is how long it usually takes for the Mexican government to find jobs for the adults. However, they are still allowed to stay a few additional weeks in order to get their affairs in order. The goal is successfully getting the migrant on their feet while waiting out their asylum process. 

The Mexican government is opening two more migrant integration centers by the end of this month with a forth planned in the near future. It isn’t an ideal situation but it’s a far cry from the cages and foil blankets of the detention facilities in the United States. Most importantly, families can stay together and that means everything in uncertain times like these. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUh_wCbaGxo&t=6s

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg Apologizes For Years Of Stop-And-Frisk Policy Ahead Of Possible 2020 Run

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Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg Apologizes For Years Of Stop-And-Frisk Policy Ahead Of Possible 2020 Run

mikebloomberg / Instagram

As former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighs a run of a possible 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, he has some regrets about some of his previous policies. In speaking to potential voters at the Christian Cultural Center, a Black church in Brooklyn, Bloomberg showed remorse for his handling of the controversial stop-and-frisk policy. During his 12-year tenure as mayor and well after he left office, Bloomberg defended the policing strategy which allowed city officers to stop and search anyone they suspected of committing a crime.

“I was determined to improve police-community relations while at the same time reducing crime even further,” Bloomberg said at the church. “Our focus was on saving lives. But the fact is: Far too many innocent people were being stopped.”

Statistics show that the policy didn’t work as it should have and instead targeted people of color in the community, most notably Black and Latino residents.  

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The stop-and-frisk policy was in place long before Bloomberg took office in 2002 and has long been viewed as a policy that directly targeted Black and Latino communities. The strategy allowed city police to detain an individual and subject them to unnecessary searches sometimes to look for possible weapons, drugs or other paraphernalia. An officer would have to have a reasonable belief that the person is, has been, or is about to be involved in a crime. The purpose of the policy was to deter violent crime in the city but, in return, it destroyed police-community relations for years in New York. 

“The temperature in the city at the time was that the police were at war with Black and brown people on the streets,” Jenn Rolnick-Borchetta, the director of impact litigation at the Bronx Defenders, told the New York Times. “And that is how people experienced it.”

Statistics show that Black and Latino people were nine times as likely as white people to be stopped by police officers when it came to the policy. They were no more likely to be arrested, the New York Times reported back in May 2010.

During Bloomberg’s tenure as New York City mayor, there was a huge spike in the overall use of the stop-and-frisk policy. According to the New York Times, the number of stops reached a peak of 685,724 in 2011 and then fell to 191,851 in 2013. In Bloomberg’s 12 year tenure as mayor, there were 5,081,689 stops by police recorded. 

Political pundits and criminal justice reform advocates are fiercely criticizing Bloomberg’s sudden backtracking on the controversial policy.

Credit: @NYCmayor / Twitter

There has been a growing wave of criticism for Bloomberg’s sudden policy walk back that is coming just as he is set to announce his 20202 campaign run. Many are criticizing Bloomberg as changing his tune in an attempt to appeal to the voters once terrorized by a policy he spent over a decade defending. One of the most high profile critics has been current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who dropped out of the 2020 presidential race earlier this year. 

“This is LONG overdue and the timing is transparent and cynical,” Mayor de Blasio tweeted.“With all due respect to my predecessor, we’ve spent six years undoing the damage he created with this bankrupt policy. We ended stop and frisk AND drove down crime. Actions speak louder than words.”

Another critic was social justice advocate Shawn King who decried Bloomberg’s apology. He voiced what some see as a political walk back in midst of a potential run at president. 

“BULLSHIT. After years of running the Apartheid-like policy of stopping and frisking millions of people of color throughout New York City, and then defending it every day in office, then every day he was out of office up until this week, @MikeBloomberg,” King tweeted

Many view his apology as a way to try to gain Black and Latino voters. More importantly, it is seen as an attempt to regain years of lost trust between him and the community. 

Credit: @amandawrites / Twitter

“The fact is, far too many innocent people were being stopped while we tried to do that. The overwhelming majority of them were black and Latino,” Bloomberg told church attendees on Sunday. “That may have included, I’m sorry to say, some of you here today. Perhaps yourself or your children, or your grandchildren, or your neighbors, or your relatives.”

There is one notable person that has voiced his approval in Bloomberg’s apology, Rev. Al Sharpton, who said the former mayor reached out to him. He says that history will be the judge of the policy-making that Bloomberg had in New York City. 

“Whatever his motive is, I’m glad that he’s taking this stand,” Sharpton told the Daily News. “We will have to wait and see whether it was politically motivated but Mr. Bloomberg should be judged by the same standards we judged Joe Biden, the author of the 1994 Crime Bill that led to disproportionate numbers of Black and brown men going to jail for years, as well as Senator Bernie Sanders, who voted for it.”

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