Tupac Amaru Shakur, " I'm Loosing It...We MUST Unite!"
Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

L.A. Urban League threatens Comcast with boycott over civil rights battle with Entertainment Studios

Comcast may have a publicity nightmare on their hands thanks to the backlash and threats of a possible boycott in response to an ongoing legal battle with Black media mogul, Byron Allen.

Allen, who is chief of Entertainment Studios, theGrio’s parent company, spent years trying to get cable giants Comcast and Charter Communications to carry his networks, but has been repeatedly denied. He is now immersed in a $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit against Comcast that has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Now, the Los Angeles Urban League is stepping up to galvanize the community to support the business man who believes Comcast and Charter Communications, both refused to carry his television channels on the basis of race.

READ MORE: Civil Rights showdown with Justice Department and Comcast outlines the true struggle for equality in America

“We are appalled by your decision to challenge and destroy the federal civil rights statute of 1866 in the U.S. Supreme Court and do so in partnership with the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice,” LAUL said on Wednesday in a scorching letter sent to Comcast chairman, Brian Roberts and Senior EVP David Cohen, according to Deadline.

“If you choose to continue your attempt to eviscerate this civil rights law, we will have no choice but to call for a boycott of everything Comcast, effective immediately,” signed LAUL CEO and President Michael Lawson.

READ MORE: WATCH | Opinion: It’s time to boycott Comcast and anyone blocking Black economic power

Lawson believes that Entertainment Studios has been denied access to a contract with Comcast because it is African American-owned company, a clear violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibits racial discrimination in business dealings.

In an August 20 op-ed, Allen explained, “you have one of the biggest media companies in the world, which has been beating up Donald Trump for racism, and now they are saying, we will work together to maintain institutionalized racism in America.”

READ MORE: Los Angeles Urban League urges Supreme Court to protect the Civil Rights Act Of 1866

To Allen’s point, Roberts and Cohen have both presented themselves as agents of inclusion and Cohen is even on the Board of Trustees of the National Urban League, which is why having the LAUL stand in solidarity against them sends a strong message about the disparity between who they say they are in public vs. how they act behind closed doors.

‘What you do now will tell us whether you are truly a supporter of the cause or just an enemy working from the inside trying to control our behavior,” Lawson said in his correspondence. “If you are a supporter of the cause, you will immediately and without condition withdraw your appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The post L.A. Urban League threatens Comcast with boycott over civil rights battle with Entertainment Studios appeared first on theGrio.

April trial date set in R. Kelly’s federal case in Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) — A judge Wednesday set an April 27 trial date in R. Kelly’s federal case in Chicago that accuses the R&B star of child pornography and obstruction of justice.

But Judge Harry Leinenweber left open the possibility of changing the date later after Kelly attorney Steve Greenberg said having to prepare for trials in three other districts meant the defense may not be ready by April.

In all, Kelly faces 40 counts of state and federal sexual misconduct charges in Illinois, Minnesota and New York, from sexual assault to heading a racketeering scheme aimed at finding girls for Kelly.

READ MORE: R. Kelly wants to hire Michael Jackson’s lawyer but needs help paying the fees

Greenberg told the judge Kelly’s legal team had “limited resources” and “voluminous” potential evidence from four cases to wade through, saying a single disc turned over in the New York case contained 9,000 subfolders.

Kelly, 52, stood in court during a Wednesday status hearing in orange jail clothes and slippers, his hands behind his back. Several supporters waved as marshals led him back to jail and he nodded in their direction.

The hearing came a day after Kelly was transferred from a restrictive unit at a Chicago federal jail into the general inmate population despite earlier concerns inmates might target him because he is a celebrity.

Another defense attorney, Michael Leonard, told reporters after Wednesday’s hearing that Kelly was in his best emotional state since his detention in July because he was no longer isolated in jail.

“You can see a kind of unburdening of his spirit now that he is in general population,” Leonard said.

Leinenweber didn’t address a defense motion to reconsider Kelly’s detention and to release him pending trial, saying he’d rule at a Sept. 18 hearing.

READ MORE: R. Kelly girlfriends seek new love pad as Trump Tower condo lease ends

Leonard said Kelly, if released, wanted to reside with two women who lived with him before his arrest, Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary. Savage’s parents have alleged she was held against her will by Kelly. She has denied that.

The 13 federal counts in Chicago accuse Kelly of filming himself having sex with underage girls and of paying off potential witnesses in his 2008 trial — at which he was acquitted — to get them to change their stories. Kelly has pleaded not guilty in all the cases but the one in Minnesota, where he will be arraigned later.

The post April trial date set in R. Kelly’s federal case in Chicago appeared first on theGrio.

Megan Thee Stallion, at long last, drops “Hot Girl Summer” video featuring Nicki Minaj

After a career making summer, this week Megan Thee Stallion finally released the official video for Hot Girl Summer, featuring Nicki Minaj, Ty Dolla Sign, and Juicy J.

You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard “Hot Girl Summer” uttered at least a few dozen times this year. In fact the catchphrase, which was the brainchild of the Houston rapper, got so popular she even took steps to have it trademarked. So now there are visuals to go along with the song and all the memes that have been made in its honor.

OPINION: Are ‘raunchy’ female rappers like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion leading us into a new wave of Black feminism?

According to Complex, in the clip, which was directed by Munachi Osegbu, social media comedian Jaimesha Thomas is seen reading an invite to “the hottest pool party of the summer.” She then does her best to re-enact one of the popular hot girl memes by asking herself “What would Megan do?”

Unfortunately, Thomas’ knees aren’t strong enough to drop it down like her favorite rapper, and the video jump cuts to what does indeed appear to be a hot girl pool party of epic proportions.

READ MORE: 5 Reasons Megan thee Stallion is the kind of friend all of us need

In addition to Thomas, who we ultimately see catch up with Meg, Nicki, and Ty at the function, the video also includes cameos by French Montana, La La Anthony, Ari Lennox, and Rico Nasty.

Previously it was reported that while the rappers and their friends were shooting these visuals in the Mount Olympus neighborhood of L.A., someone tipped off the police that she didn’t have the proper permits, which caused officers to show up during the shoot and shut the entire thing down.

READ MORE: Megan Thee Stallion “hot girl” video shoot shut down in LA

Although the LAPD made them pack up everything and leave, Meg’s team was able to bounce back quickly and just moved the shoot to a new location in Chino Hills.

Hot Girl Summer hit streaming services in early August and went on to enter the Hot 100 at the No. 11 slot, making it the 24 year old’s highest-charting single thus far.

For those who may be asking why we’re still talking about hot girl summer post Labor Day, “We’ve extended the summer, honestly” the rapper recently told Variety at Beautycon in Los Angeles. “We’re gonna drive it until October. Don’t even trip.”

The post Megan Thee Stallion, at long last, drops “Hot Girl Summer” video featuring Nicki Minaj appeared first on theGrio.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

How to Create a Purpose-Driven Business

It’s one thing to launch a business; it’s another to launch a business with a purpose. Jovian Zayne, founder of the OnPurpose Movement and the International Day of Purpose, wants to help entrepreneurs do just that—create a purpose-driven business.

The certified leadership and professional development coach, consultant, and public speaker says that purpose is the foundation of her work and at the core of who she is.

Zayne says she has worked with Google, Goldman Sachs, The New York Times, Columbia University, Harvard University, The Clinton Foundation, The Aspen Institute, Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland Records, and Teach For America.

“When I think about purpose through my work I think about it through service and impact,” says Zayne. “When people are thinking about using their sense of purpose to grow a business, you need to build your business on purpose, not by accident. Be very thoughtful around why are you doing this.”

She adds that being honest about why you want to start a business is key.

“I don’t think there’s a problem with starting a business because you want it to be profitable. And to that point, asking yourself, ‘Am I doing this in a way that honors the values I hold most dear?’ will help you.”

purpose-driven business


When it comes to making a profit from a purpose-driven business, Zayne says, “Self-care is knowing your worth and being comfortable asking for it. No matter what products or services you provide, you thrive when you know what value you add.”

“I believe in the work that I do; I believe in the service I provide, and I believe that my gifts will make room for me. I also believe in creating a sustainable business that can create a legacy and generational wealth for people who look like me. That is something I’m committed to doing in this world because one of my values is equity,” says Zayne.

She goes on to say, “People should be putting their value where their output is. You can’t say that you’re doing critical work and let people pay you chump change, it’s just not gonna work. You won’t be able to continue to do the work that’s important and have people have a scalable business.”

A Framework For Creating Purpose

A big part of her work with corporations and individuals begins with being clear about not only the goals of the client but how she can best serve them. She starts her work with her ‘Core Five Framework.’ As a part of that framework, Zayne encourages entrepreneurs to ask themselves the following questions:

  • Who do I want to serve right now?
  • What skills, gifts, resources, and experiences do I have right now that I feel most compelled and uniquely positioned and called to use to positively serve this group?
  • What habits need to shift in order for this impact to be real?
  • Who needs to impact me?
  • Who do you want to be as you serve?

Zayne’s framework serves as a guide but she also says that when doing the work it is important to ask yourself, “what value are you bringing with you?”

In addition, Zayne says that impactful work requires a team effort. “I deeply believe that you can’t be your best self by yourself.”

Doing Business on Purpose Requires a Lifestyle Shift  

“There were certain things that I needed to shift in order to set my life up to be an entrepreneur. And it was everything from creating a different kind of health routine to creating structures that supported me being effective and keep my energy up,” says Zayne. She offers these tips on creating a business with purpose:

  • Automate services and tasks that might be time-consuming and easy to forget to complete.
  • Find a community of people who will hold you accountable.
  • Create a routine that supports your health and wellness as you do the work so that you don’t burn out.
  • Be more ferocious and committed to carefully curating what you allow in your spirit: from who you follow on your social media, to what you watch on TV, the books you read, etc.



Conquering Fears About Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

I have trained thousands of people throughout the United States, South America, and the United Kingdom; had personal conversations and conducted in-depth interviews about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Two simple but extremely complex words are at the core of all of my diversity and inclusion conversations: loss and fear

If you think about the riot in Charlottesville, Virginia,—it was about fear as white supremacists yelled, “you will not replace us.” And in our local communities, we are tired of the constant fight around loss. Loss of economic development, healthy food, and access to healthcare.

I see it constantly as companies put strategies in place to hire a skilled, diverse workforce. Here is a recent conversation that I have had countless times.

Me: What do you think of the company’s goal to hire more diverse employees?

Employee: It feels like a quota system to me and my team.

Me: How so?

Employee: My team feels like white men are going to either lose their jobs or won’t be hired because of diversity.

Me: But you know that’s not true. No one will be hired or fired based upon their diversity. I think the company has done a great job of explaining their strategy to attain this goal. Why do you think your team chooses to see it different?

Employee: Here’s the deal. If a white guy, and say, a black woman are applying for the same position and everything is equal as far as work experience, skill sets, background and that all stuff—the position will now go to the black woman because of a diversity quota. It’s hard to compete with that.

Me: Now, let me ask you a tough question and it’s going to make you a little uncomfortable but that’s why we are here. This has happened repeatedly to people of color more times than we will ever be able to count. Furthermore, you can count the people of color in this office on one hand. We also both know that, overwhelmingly, positions have gone to white males in most instances throughout history. Have you or your team had any concerns about that?

Employee: I understand where you are coming from, but I guess what I’m saying is that we want fairness in the process.

Leveling the playing field

Diverse individuals, even those with degrees, are often not hired. What diverse people want is a level playing field, so they can compete. The employee mentioned above and I discussed that neither he or his team are responsible for the years of inequity experienced by people of color (or those that fall into an underrepresented category) but that they can be allies and help us dismantle those systems. Furthermore, as white men, they can help to put processes in place for change. We must get away from the thought (and practice) that the white male has no place in conversations about diversity and inclusion.

It affects everyone and we all must be engaged. Why? Because we are all driven by fear. People of color, LGBT people, and women fear being treated unequally and being continually marginalized. White people, especially men, fear living in a society where they are no longer the majority and what that will mean for their families both personally and professionally. Millennials fear their ideas are not being respected because of their age while older people fear not being relevant in our technology-driven world.

Ultimately, we are all scared of a system that treats us unfairly and processes that leave us unable to make a decent income, live in affordable housing, or give us access to healthcare and healthy food. We have the same fears and because I know this, I know the ‘us versus them’ dynamic continues to hold us back.

How do we fix it? Stop being scared! The heart of the matter is, unsurprisingly, showing heart. We confront our issues with unconditional love. Not the touchy-feely kind, but the total acceptance of humanity kind. Get in where you fit in because we ALL do.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.


Monday, July 22, 2019

Willpower Woes: How a Rotten Resolve Can Hurt You

Willpower. We all want it. We all need it. But far too many of us just don’t have what it takes to stay resolute and determined when the going gets tough. Indeed, maintaining self-control and self-discipline when facing challenges at work and at home, or when aspiring toward ambitious future goals and objectives, can be among the most difficult life skills to manage and master—but it’s also one of the most impactful.

The significance of having low willpower cannot be overstated since a lack of mental strength and fortitude can adversely affect nearly every aspect of your life and how you are perceived by others. This includes levels of failure and success in the workplace; leadership capabilities relating to career and home/parenting life; maintaining good habits (reliability, promptness, health and otherwise); aptly managing compulsions, impulses, addictions and bad habits; and a myriad of other obstacles, trials and tribulations we’re presented with on a daily basis. Life without willpower paints an ominous picture.

Kanika Tolver

Kanika Tolver

However much desired or well-intended, the process to developing willpower to benefit your professional and personal life can seem impossible, especially when faced with difficult situations, coercion or pressure from others, toxic relationships and certainly addictions of any sort. However, taking the initial steps to develop and maintain a strong will and self-discipline can be life-changing.

With this in mind, I connected with the author of “Life Rehab: Don’t Overdose on Pain, People and Power,” Kanika Tolver—a Certified Professional Coach and thought leader who helps individuals realize career, business, life and spiritual success.  She offered this simple yet insightful 3-step exercise that can help individuals develop better willpower through practice, progression, and patience:


  • Brainstorm all of your weaknesses—as many as you can think of—and write them down. When you identify your weaknesses on paper, it initiates the process of acknowledgement and acceptance. We all have weaknesses, whether it’s procrastination or being a “pushover” and the like, that are undermining our ability to be happy and successful. However, thinking comprehensively about our shortcomings and confessing them on paper produces a cathartic sense of awareness and urgency. While any scrap of paper will do, it’s best to invest in a simple journal where you can keep an ongoing log of your flaws and faults that are likely working against you at work, at home and in social circles.
  • Cultivate a list of adversaries. As with your list of weaknesses above that related to your own personality and character traits, it’s also advisable to identify those people and other aspects of your life that challenge your willpower. This can include specific people in your professional and personal life, your job itself, or things like food, alcohol, television, the gym, etc. Keep a running log of these as well so that you remain mindful of exactly what aspects of life you seek to improve. Even try to put this list from most to least important or impactful, with the areas you need the most work on, and that will impact your life most significantly, at the top.
  • Set small, achievable goals for turning your weaknesses into strengths. For each weakness, set small incremental goals. Setting unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment, which often leads to self-sabotage and self-doubt—all of which undercut your efforts to develop stronger willpower. Most of us have spent years repeating a bad habit or suffering a bad relationship. With this exercise, it’s now time to make a conscious choice to make small changes to negate the damage done. A collection of successful small changes will likely lead to big changes, which can lead to life-changing transformations. Reward yourself for even the smallest of victories along the journey. Revel in each achievement, however tiny.



  • Now that you are aware of what about yourself you need to “fix” and in what circumstances, journal your daily progress—both wins, losses and challenges—and your feelings in relation to each. Over time, you will be able to analyze the “data” and discern patterns, including where you fell short, in what circumstances you remained steadfast, and what made you uncomfortable (and which way that ultimately swung). This will expose ways to better apply willpower and manage situations to your benefit. Progression requires transparent hard work and constant self-evaluation. But the prospective payoff is immense.
  • Surround yourself with people who have experience and overcame the same struggles you have. Associating with people who can give you good, proven advice that can be validated with personal anecdotes and insights is priceless. One great strategy is to find an “accountability partner,” support group, mentor or professional coach who can provide valuable objective perspectives and help guide and advise you when challenges present.



  • Patience is indeed a virtue because all too few of us have it. But, if you can effectively exercise patience, it can vastly strengthen your willpower. In fact, the two are entirely intertwined. We are a culture of instant gratification, and when the universe does not deliver immediately we tend to get disappointed, which can lead to a “giving up” or “giving in” mentality—either of which are the enemies of willpower.  It’s hard to practice a new habit and continue down the path of progression with an impatient mindset. Know in advance that every day of your journey may not be positive or deliver the result you seek, but practice, progression and patience will ultimately enhance your self-control.

With a big dose of motivation and just a little bit of effort put forth with an exercise such as this, you could be well on your way to winning the willpower game. Cultivating a mental fortitude is not just a life luxury—it’s a mission-critical key to promoting positive change, maintaining favorable habits, and bolstering your drive to achieve in all aspects of life. Carpe diem!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Date Hotspots For Frequent Travelers Looking For Romance

What exactly is a “frequent flyer dater?” Match, an online dating platform, defines it as someone who mixes business with pleasure while on the road and, apparently, it is becoming increasingly popular.

Match and travel site Localeur have teamed up to provide customers with a list of recommendations provided by locals on which dating hotspots they should hit up while they’re in town or on a business trip.

“Leisure travelers have been the primary source of Localeur’s users for years, but working with Match has allowed us to service the growing needs of business travelers,” Joah Spearman, CEO of Localeur, told Black Enterprise. “By partnering with Match, we’ve been able to bring more value to busy business travelers—whom we’ve deemed “frequent flyer daters”—who don’t want to stop their social lives just because they’re in a new city. This partnership, much like our work with JetBlue Airways, further demonstrates the desire from travelers for more authentic recommendations from locals.”

Localear Joah Spearman

Joah Spearman, CEO of Localeur (Image: Larry Luk)

Curious about the top 10 cities that stand out for an on-the-go romance and what places you should visit, according to the locals? Here they are:


  • RM Champagne Salon, West Loop
  • Whiskey Business, Wicker Park
  • Quiote, Logan Square

New York

  • RakuEast, Village
  • El Almacen, Williamsburg
  • 67 Orange Street, Harlem

Los Angeles

  • La Tostaderia, DTLA
  • A-Frame, Culver City
  • Vinoteque, Fairfax
Washington, DC 
  • Harold Black, Capitol Hill
  • Iron Gate, Dupont Circle
  • Atlas Brew Works, Ivy City


  • Ten Ramen, Oak Cliff
  • Louie’s Lower, Greenville
  • Happiest Hour, Victory Park


  • Batanga, Market Square
  • Lei Low Bar, The Heights
  • Mongoose vs. Cobra, Midtown


  • Angelo’s Tavern, Alamo Placita
  • Denver Beer Co., Highlands
  • Thin Man Tavern, Northeast


  • Devil’s Alley, Rittenhouse Square
  • Standard Tap, Northern Liberties
  • Zavino, University City


  • Joyride Taco House, Central Phoenix
  • The Little Woody, Arcadia
  • Undertow, Central Phoenix

San Francisco

  • El Techo de Lolinda, Mission District
  • Fat Angel Food and Libation, Western Addition
  • Swan’s Market, Downtown Oakland


Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published on October 15, 2018.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

6 Ways to Improve Yourself This Summer

Beyond enjoying backyard barbecues and waves at the beach, the summer season is also the perfect time to take your skills to the next level. Here are six ways to develop yourself this summer:


Get uncomfortable and fit

Whether it’s preparing for a bodybuilding contest or taking a fitness and adventure travel vacation, professional development and self-care go hand in hand.

workout fitness


Switch up your daily routine

Can you walk or bike to work? Wake up earlier to meditate or read? Take on a new daily activity or initiative at work? Changing your routine can stimulate your creative thinking.


Unplug at least once a day

Does your brain have too many tabs open? Feel like you’re addicted to your cell phone? If you’ve answered yes, it may be time for a digital detox to give your brain a break. Nowadays, hotels and vacation resorts offer a variety of fun and tech-free options for guest to unwind and enjoy …. Alternatively, you can opt for giving up your favorite social media app and digital devices for at least one day. 

(Image: iStock/AndreyPopov)

Join a challenge

Experts say it takes a minimum of 21-days to form a habit, so if you’ve wanted to reduce your spending, lose weight, or unclutter your mind with meditation, starting a 21- or even a 30-day challenge with friends is a great way to get a jump-start on achieving your goals.



Do one thing that scares you

You know that one thing you keep putting off because you’re concerned about what people might think? Or the one activity you dream about doing but you haven’t mustered the courage to take action yet?

( Graiki)

Volunteer or get involved with a charity

From lending your expertise to a function of the organization like social media management to providing hands-on support to daily operations such as feeding the homeless.

(Image: iStock/dzphotovideo)


Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published on August 4, 2017. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Audacity of Entrepreneurship: 7 Ways To Boss Up In The Face of Adversity

It sounds super cool and trendy to be “a boss” but one thing is for certain, entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Instead, being an entrepreneur takes daring, risk-taking, confidence, and yes, sometimes audacity.

Dee Williams is the CEO of Individual Audacity, a company that teaches driven, audacious individuals and leaders how to decide on a course of action in their career, business, or life and how to execute on those decisions. She’s the new co-founder of the tech startup MyStartup Assist.  

Williams is also founder and CEO of Identifize Consulting, a recruitment and staffing consulting firm launched in 2011 after she left corporate America working as a recruiter and staffing professional in the IT space.

According to Williams, it takes a lot of inner work of choosing where you want to direct your energy, thoughts, and emotions to overcome adversity. It’s systematic by focusing on the end goal and not the present circumstance or what’s happening now. Despite the adversity, know where you’re going and where you’re going to focus. This is what she calls Individual Audacity—a conscious choice and unapologetic resolve of “this is who I am; these are my goals, and I live by that freely.”

Williams shares seven reasons why entrepreneurs must have audacity:

1. Unpredictable Challenges:

It’s inevitable in business, there will be good days, bad days, ups and downs and in order to maneuver through, you must be audacious. Sometimes, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world and winning, and other times, it’ll seem like you’re the biggest loser. However, be bold in your decision-making in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

2. Idea Ownership

The idea that you’re bringing to the table is unique to you. So, if you don’t own, embrace, or uphold it, then who will. It was given to you, so you possess the tenacity and willpower to execute. You must be audacious to bring your ideas into the world. Most people die with world-changing ideas still in their mind.

3. Marketplace Competition:

Competition is fierce and employers today are fighting over talent. They’re fighting over people who can bring their business initiatives, goals and objectives to light. Don’t just start something that already exists with the same business model and put your personality on it. No! Take that business model, do your research, get your market fired up and create something that your market absolutely wants and enjoys. Showcase your ingenuity by introducing something of high value to the marketplace.

4. Doors of Opportunity:

Being audacious is about seizing the opportunity to meet new people; about hearing and seeing what’s happening around you so that you can identify the opportunities made available to you. But you can’t do that if you’re stuck in a box or expecting things to be one specific way. You must be audacious enough to recognize connections and how they are a part of your plan. You could be seated at a dinner table and a conversation leads to a new partnership or business deal. Recognize when opportunities show up because they’re all around you. However, if you don’t have that audacious spirit within, you will never be able to recognize the opportunities and the people that can help you realize them.

5. Profitability and Growth:

Generating revenue is not always as easy as we think it should be. So, you start the business, price and package your product or service. You market and get out there, and it’s not selling. Now what? This can really shake a person’s confidence after so much time has been invested. You must be audacious enough to create different ways to present your business and generate income. For example, understanding your market better and know what your market needs.

6. Authenticity and Transparency:

In a world where everyone is supposed to think, look, and act the same, what really draws people to a business or brand is pure authenticity. Being true to who you are regardless of your dialect, height, weight, background, race or religion. Being audacious with your message is also key. People aren’t looking for perfection these days; they are looking for identification and connection. When you can bring all that you are, even your flaws to the surface, people resonate with that.

7. Believe What’s Possible:

There is a fundamental difference between “knowing” and “believing.” Many believe they can start a business and they do. But they don’t know that the business can be successful especially after hitting some major bumps in the road. They have enough audacity to start a business but not enough to sustain an entrepreneur’s mindset. You must believe it can be done and know that it’s going to happen. You can’t just have one half of the equation. Check your self-talk. Examine what you are feeding into your mind on a consistent basis that’s shaping your belief system.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Millennial Moves: Removing Barriers for Young, Black Accountants

While #BlackGirlMagic is an anthem that has successfully recognized the accomplishments of black women around the world, there is still more work that needs to be done to share the story of the African American male experience.  For example, millennial leaders like Jeff Wilson II are breaking boundaries for young, black accountants in the accounting industry, where African Americans represent only 8.2% of the workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wilson started his career at a ‘Big Four’ accounting firm and was immediately included on the talent pipeline list as a potential firm partner. But he knew there was more to life beyond the cubicle and was willing to do whatever it took to expand opportunities for other underrepresented CPAs in the profession.


So, at the age of 23, Wilson left his corporate career, grabbed a mentor, and created a small tax practice that served as a foundation for helping others to learn the basics of wealth-building. Ten years later, his firm has grown and stands strong with a team of driven millennial leaders.

Wilson’s mission is simple: To be a top firm that develops and mentors the next generation of CPAs and builds thought leaders in the areas of Accounting, Tax, and Financial Planning.

In this interview, Wilson, who is a principal at The W2 Group and author of The Lies our Parents Were Sold and Told Us, shares the secrets behind his success as a young financial entrepreneur:

Black Enterprise: What does it take to build a successful niche practice?

Jeff Wilson II: Niche businesses are great. Niche businesses have something most open businesses don’t have: Barriers to entry—and most importantly, margins to protect them from competitors. To do a niche business, you have to understand who your client is exactly.

Second, understand your competitors. How many people are selling the same product? If a lot of competitors have the same product to sell, it’s not going to hold a lot of value.

Lastly, develop and continue to enhance your skill set. Pick a skill or product that is unique and continue developing it so you’re out in the forefront when people think of this skill or product in need.

Did you face any challenges, opposition, or doubts from others as a young black entrepreneur? How did you establish your credibility in the industry?

As a minority in a predominantly white profession from a small HBCU, there are a lot of headwinds. No question, I faced a lot of opposition.

I started a financial services organization when I was 23. Who takes advice from a 23-year-old with no born privilege? That’s a tough sell to anyone.

However, you can’t focus on that, and I never did. I was told your reputation will make it there before you will. As a result, I made sure my name was a gold standard. I did my homework when meeting clients to assure them I was competent. I was always on time and I dressed like a professional. That alone, at least, got me a conversation with decision makers.

Then, I had to explain why they should take my advice. It helped that I was a CPA at 23 who could explain finances simply and in a believable manner. It probably didn’t hurt that I mentioned my positive net worth which I knew most people over 40 couldn’t say. A report in 2008 noted that most people under-40 had a negative net worth so I had something working in my favor. So, they listened and as a result, I am still here.

What advice do you have for other individuals who want to leave their corporate job and start their own firm? 

My advice is this: Don’t quit your day job if you can’t go a year or more without a paycheck. Starting a business is hard and sometimes the reward comes much later than you think. It’s a journey to create lasting wealth for you and your family. It will take a while for the returns to show, but if you’re skilled and focused on your business 24/7, I am confident the rewards will come.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

How I Landed My First TEDx Talk and How You Can Too

I often get asked this question by other entrepreneurs; “How did you get to do a TEDx talk?” My answer is simple, I pitched my idea, and after submitting my speech to the TEDx committee, I was selected as a speaker. Here are strategies you can use to share your idea and how to avoid the mistakes that I made that almost prevented me from reaching the TEDx stage.

How to Land a TEDx Talk

Shoot your shot

My goal in 2018 was to give a TEDx talk. I thought I had my talk figured out. My first talk was going to cover utilizing the power of innovation to help prevent military veteran suicides.

Although I considered myself a subject matter expert, having recently developed an award-winning mobile application that helps veterans access life-saving resources, my talk wasn’t well thought out. I pitched a local TEDx event and made it to the top seventh pick. However, I was not selected to speak and was encouraged to pitch the following year again. I was devastated, to make it that far and not have an opportunity to share my ideas.

Rather than soaking in despair, I kept the TEDx goal on my whiteboard hoping to have the opportunity to pitch my idea for another TEDx conference. In speaking with a colleague in the industry, I randomly shared an idea that I wanted to talk about. To my surprise, my colleague said my idea was a great topic to speak about and advised me to send in a speaker proposal for a TEDx event —”Shoot my shot” were her exact words. To my amazement, I was finally selected as a TEDx speaker.

Develop your idea

The TEDx organizers develop a theme for every TEDx event. Your speaking topic should reflect the theme of the event. Alter your TEDx pitch around the theme and you stand a better chance of securing your spot on the TEDx stage. TEDx themes are readily accessible on their event website.

If TEDx has been your goal, continue to stay encouraged. You never know who you will meet and present an idea to that might end with you speaking on the TEDx stage.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

3 Essential Steps to Discouraging Social Loafing

Have you ever worked in a group where some members contributed and others did not? If so, then you know how frustrating it can be. The problem with social loafing—the tendency of certain members of a group to get by with less effort than if they were working alone and who operate under the assumption that others’ efforts will cover their shortfalls—is that it has the potential to negatively impact work product, damage professional relationships, and contaminate workplace culture. Most people are willing to contribute if their individual efforts are acknowledged and appreciated. Social loafing prevents this result. Herein lies the dilemma.

Want to discourage the free-riders from stealing your thunder? Use these essential strategies to increase accountability and discourage social loafing:

1. Keep the team small. When teams grow beyond three to five members, the potential for social loafing is high. If there is a good reason for allowing the group to expand beyond these parameters (such as a significant workload coupled with an extreme deadline), break the team into sub-groups of no more than three members per group. Assign each sub-group a specific theme that can be broken up by task between the individual members. This strategy will help you get the same result as if you had simply limited the original group to three to five members. The goal is to discourage individual assignments from becoming fungible–and people from not fully participating (because the others won’t notice) or doing less work because their efforts are being duplicated elsewhere.

2. Develop the rules of engagement. If you set ground rules for group conduct at the outset, you’ll get less push back. Buy-in is essential when individuals are working so closely together and need to be cohesive to achieve a desired result. Think about the importance of deadlines, accountability and deliverables to your project. How do these factors bring you closer to the desired result? Make sure that the parameters are communicated early and often. Then make sure that they are enforced. If the team thinks that you’re just bluffing, they’ll undermine your authority and you’ll lose credibility.

3. Assign separate and distinct contributions for every team member. One surefire way to make certain that tasks do not become fungible is to make assignments that are separate and distinct. If you assign tasks in this way, no one can rely on another team member to pick up the slack. Each person will have to pull their own weight, which is exactly the point. The best way to create mutually exclusive tasks is to classify project components into specific buckets. For example: financial, communication, technology, oversight and R&D. Not only will this solve the social loafing issue, but it also helps the team to create a clear roadmap for results and assure that no critical aspect has been ignored.

Remember, people are motivated to contribute if their efforts are acknowledged and appreciated. Help the process along by discouraging social loafing with these essential strategies.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Top Strategies to Have in Place Before You Start an Online Business

You can start an online business if you are willing to be strategic in your approach. Smart brand builders understand the need to develop strategies for continued growth. If you’re an online business owner who wants to do everything in your power to succeed, the following are the top strategies you need to have in place when building your company.

4 Strategies to Have in Place Before You Start an Online Business

Lead Generation

Without a sound lead generation strategy, your online business is likely doomed for failure. Customers aren’t going to discover your company magically. It would be best if you had a plan in place to acquire new customers. Even after you acquire customers, some of them will never return to your business. You can’t depend on existing customers to keep purchasing from your business. Lead generation is an ongoing component of building a successful company and is critical to long-term viability.

Content Marketing

Choosing to use content marketing to grow your business is only the first step. There is a massive amount of content already online. You need to develop a plan for your content marketing outreach. A ‘create it, and they will come’ strategy won’t work when today’s consumer has a sea of quality blog posts at their disposal. It would help if you determined in advance who will be responsible for content creation, how topics will be decided, and who will be responsible for monitoring the performance and ROI of your content.

Social Media Marketing

If you are building an online business, social media outreach needs to be part of your marketing plans. Even if you’re only on Facebook, your business needs a sound social media marketing strategy to ensure your posts reach your target customers. Consider everything from which social platforms you’ll use to the types of posts you’ll share. If your company isn’t active on social media, your competitors will beat you to prospective customers.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is another essential component of building a profitable online business. It’s not enough to use content marketing and social media marketing to attract consumers; you need to integrate SEO into both of those outreach efforts. Ensure that your social media posts are optimized for keywords your customers will use, and your blog posts contain long-tail keywords search engine users will hunt for. Today’s consumers are using platforms like Twitter and Facebook as search engines; your social media posts need to be optimized for discovery just like your blog posts.

Building a successful online business requires that you have several marketing strategies in place. In an increasingly contentious business environment, it is the savviest brand builder who will succeed.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Wendy Williams: ‘Love is Not Promised, Marriage is Not Promised’ [Video]

Last month, Wendy Williams opened up at Black Enterprise’s FWD conference about her estranged husband and former business partner Kevin Hunter. The legendary media personality filed for divorce from Hunter in April after more than two decades of marriage. She has also removed him as the executive producer of The Wendy Williams Show and dissolved the nonprofit organization that they launched together back in 2014.

“My husband and I were partners—and he’s not the executive producer, I just have to clean the slate and start over,” Williams said at FWD. She also revealed that her career and finances were well established before she and Hunter met.

“I didn’t meet my husband until my 29th birthday and those years before I was already a property owner, I was already a radio star, I was already the boss of my own life. I’m returning to that life with a bigger platform. I won’t talk horribly about my husband. You can’t just make 25 years go away,” she said.

When asked about doing business with a romantic partner, Williams’ advice was sharp. “Don’t do it,” she said. “Marry a cardiologist and you go on to be an engineer—make sure people support you but have your separate lives. When you come home you have more to talk about than business. Keep it separate.”

Following her fireside chat at FWD, Williams talked about the next stages of her career and the secret behind her interviewing style. She also emphasized the importance of generating multiple streams of revenue.

“Who do you know has just one job first of all? If you don’t have at least two jobs these days, then you’re fooling yourself,” she said. “And why is it important? Well, who’s going to take care of me? Love is not promised. Marriage is not promised. It’s not promised that your children are going to be successful and be able to take care of you.”

Watch Wendy Williams’ backstage interview at FWD below.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

How to Fund the Franchise Business You’ve Always Wanted

As a franchise adviser, the most-asked question I receive after “what’s the best franchise to buy?” is “where can I get the money” to purchase a franchise. Understanding how to fund a franchise business is critical because it could ultimately determine what business you end up purchasing.

In addition, potential franchisees often find out that there are more options than they thought, and they may be able to purchase a larger territory, multiple territories, or a resale business.

Understanding your funding options isn’t just for the purpose of starting up your franchise. It’s also about cash infusion opportunities down the line when you want to grow the business or have an unplanned event occur that requires emergency funds.

Most African Americans Bootstrap Franchises

The SBA reports that 70% of African Americans who start businesses turn to family or use their own personal funds. And while nearly 19% of white business owners started their business with a business loan from a bank or other financial institution, only 15.2% of black business owners did so. Black and Hispanic business owners are more likely to rely on personal credit cards carrying balances, which is a much more expensive financing option than a traditional bank loan.

There are new programs coming out all the time that investors can take advantage of, and it’s important to learn about those, as well as the changes that occur to existing programs. I sat down with Rodney H. Brown, executive director of Unlimited Financial Funding L.L.C. as he shared some valuable information.

How to Fund a Franchise

What are the most common loans you broker for your clients?

Rodney H. Brown: SBA 7A, SBA 504, CRE conventional loans and Non-SBA working capital loans, equipment loans, and development funding to name a few.

What does a client seeking funding need to qualify?

If purchasing a franchise, they need to be working with an SBA franchise, have a 660 credit score (may accept 620 with explanation), no bankruptcies, and 10%-15% cash down payment of the total loan amount.

Industry experience is not required, however, with hotels most lenders prefer two or more years’ experience or have a management team in place with the experience.

What are some of the franchise brands you have funded for clients?

Marcos Pizza, Five Guys, Subway, and Tropical Smoothie Café.

What advice do you give clients on how much they should borrow?

I advise my clients to take what is needed but at the same time, have access to 20%-25% liquidity because with an SBA loan you will need 10%-15% down but underwriters love to see additional liquidity available in the form of home equity, IRA/401(K), stocks, etc. If you only have 10% to inject into a business and it takes longer than 6-9 months to turn a profit, the business is headed for disaster.

Other than SBA, what funding options are there?

We can provide additional working capital and term loans—conventional loans for those clients that prefer not to take an SBA loan, and we also can assist our clients with programs to calculate any new or existing federal tax benefits and incentives they may not be taking advantage of. We are always trying to add more value for clients to stay ahead and with limited business debt as possible.

When should a candidate start the funding process and how long does it take?

Once a person has identified a franchise or business they feel confident will be a good fit for them, they should begin the funding process ASAP. At Unlimited Financial Funding, once we receive all the personal/business financials from the borrower, we underwrite the file to see how strong it is and if it is strong enough, we submit it to our top 2-3 lenders that we know will give the best terms or provide the most flexibility if needed. Such as lower credit scores, lack of collateral, limited locations for the franchise, etc. Once the file is submitted to the lender, we typically can close within 45-60 days. However, we can usually have an LOI (Letter of Intent) after 72 hours of loan submission.

Are there limits to what the funds can be used for?

They can be used for business acquisitions, partner buyouts, buying commercial real estate for owner-occupied properties (the borrower must occupy 51% of total space), working capital, commercial build-out as well as buying equipment & FF&E (furniture, fixtures, and equipment).

What other key information do potential candidates need to know?

My advice would be to steer clear of the big banks. They have less flexibility and are more focused on bank deposits, savings accounts, CDs, etc. SBA lending has come a long way in the past 5-10 years. It no longer takes 3-6 months to close an SBA, which it still can if you’re working with the Big Banks. In addition, if they are willing to fund the loan, they will require the borrower to move their banking portfolio to that branch and may only fund the loan if you have collateral. The SBA DOES NOT require that you have collateral!

So, if you’re denied a loan for no collateral, that shouldn’t mark the end of your journey. Unlimited Financial Funding works with several non-bank lenders that do not require collateral. However, if you do have a home or other investment properties the lender may have to use that as collateral.

The best funding partners focus on SBA loans ONLY, no bank deposits or bank accounts, simply financing and closing viable loans for the small business community.


Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

5 Bad Habits to Avoid to Become a Successful Entrepreneur

A know-it-all attitude. Giving up at the first sign of trouble and criticizing the ideas of others. These are some ways entrepreneurs sabotage their success with bad habits. A successful entrepreneur achieves by avoiding a few bad habits. If you’re an entrepreneur with a lust for life and the heart of a business-building hustler, consider breaking the following five practices and watch your career flourish.

5 Bad Practices a Successful Entrepreneur Avoids


Not Taking Responsibility

One of the first bad habits you need to break is not taking responsibility. Whether it is a lousy decision influencing your company’s performance or a choice you have made personally, failing to take responsibility is a sign of weakness. If you want to earn the respect of your peers (and potentially angel investors), stop shucking responsibility, and be strong enough to own up to imperfections and bad choices.

Failing to Learn

It can be a giddy experience to be an entrepreneur. You are building a company out of nothing and enjoying the freedom of being your own boss. However, being the boss doesn’t mean you already know everything. Leaders who continue to learn throughout their career are destined for much greater success than those who make no effort to continue to learn.

Agreeing to Unnecessary Meetings

Entrepreneurs who agree to too many meetings are far less productive than those who also use email or text messaging. Face-to-face meetings aren’t necessary most of the time; questions and answers can just as easily be handled via instant messaging or email. The next time someone asks to meet to pick your brain or get your input, ask yourself whether a meeting truly is necessary. If successful tech moguls like Mark Cuban can use email instead of meetings, don’t you think the same could be right for you?


You would think multitasking is suitable for your productivity as an entrepreneur, but the opposite is true. Attempting to do too many things at once means you’re not giving your full attention to any specific task. You are much better off concentrating on one task at a time and giving it your all before moving on to other duties demanding your attention.


Procrastinating is another evil sin if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. Putting off tasks you dread can have a significant impact on your daily work output. When you have a dreaded task hanging over your head, you are less likely to dive into other duties with full force. Get your least favorite tasks over with at the beginning of your day and the remainder of your business day will be much more productive and positive.

Breaking bad habits isn’t easy. It takes time and discipline and a willingness to be tough on yourself when necessary. The rewards are definitely worth the effort, though, both personally and professionally.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Democratic Debates: Where Each Candidate Stands on African American Voter Issues

On Wednesday and Thursday, 20 presidential candidates will share their agenda and vision for the country with the American audience in the first Democratic debate heading into the 2020 election season. Black Enterprise editors have researched each candidates’ positions on African American voter issues. By a consensus of our editors, the most pressing issues in the black community are (in no particular order): reparations; education/student debt; police brutality; prison reform; black entrepreneurship; the racial wealth gap; voting rights; affordable healthcare; and environmental racism (aka, the Flint water crisis).

Our Methodology

In conducting our research, we first went to each candidates’ website to view their stances on various issues. In cases where we could not find a stated policy, we scoured the internet looking for statements from candidates on a particular issue.



The Candidates’ on African American Voter Issues

Michael Bennet

democratic debates

Reparations – Not a co-sponsor of S.1083 – H.R. 40 Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. (Source).  Could not find a statement or policy stance.

Education & Student Debt – “Michael supports policies that make it easier for students to earn degrees that prepare them for 21st-century careers, including programs for career and technical education. He also has championed bipartisan solutions to simplify the financial aid process and expand year-round Pell Grants so students can finish college with less debt and on their own schedule.” (Source).

Police Brutality – Could not find a statement or policy stance.

Prison Reform – Co-sponsored 2016 “aimed at reducing mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain drug offenders, targeting violent criminals, and granting judges greater discretion at sentencing for lower-level drug crimes.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Could not find a statement or policy stance.

Racial Wealth Gap – Could not find a statement or policy stance.

Voting Rights – “Plans to establish online voting registration, require states to offer same-day voting registration and make Election Day a national holiday. What’s more, Bennet pledged to increase resources for the Department of Justice’s civil rights division to monitor voting infringement.” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare –Introduced healthcare legislation that seeks to expand the Affordable Care Act. (Source). He does not support Medicare for All; instead supports “Medicare X” proposal he and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) rolled out last month that would allow for a public healthcare option, modeled after Medicare, to be made available alongside private insurance. “The proposal ‘allows people to choose for their families what’s best for them in terms of insurance and in terms of primary care,’ Bennet said.” (Source).

Environmental Racism – He is committed to fighting climate change, (source), but we could not find statements or policy specifically on environmental racism.

Joe Biden

democratic debates

Reparations – “In a statement to VICE this week for a story about healthcare reparations, a Biden spokesperson said the former vice president “believes that we should gather the data necessary to have an informed conversation about reparations, but he has not endorsed a specific bill.” That means unlike the majority of the 2020 field, Biden does not necessarily support a reparations commission, the latest issue separating him from the progressives he’s running against.” (Source).

Education & Student Debt – “Back in 2015, Biden did indicate he supported the idea of free college, saying, ‘We need to commit to 16 years of free public education for all our children… We all know that 12 years of public education is not enough. As a nation, let’s make the same commitment to a college education today that we made to a high school education 100 years ago.’ While this general sentiment puts him in the same boat as several other Democratic candidates, he has offered no real specifics or plan for implementation.” (Source).

Police Brutality – Could not find specifics but Biden “has leaned heavily on the idea that he would be a continuation of the Obama administration, which took a proactive approach to investigating police violence and racism in police departments through the implementation of consent decrees after the deaths of Freddie Gray and Michael Brown.” (Source).

Prison Reform – Could not find clear policy but when “asked by a local woman, who described herself as an ‘ACLU voter,’ whether he would commit to reducing the federal prison population by half, the Democratic presidential candidate launched into a multi-pronged response about who makes up the prison population, the 1994 crime bill, reforming the laws that put people into prison in the first place, and then, finally, answered that ‘to make a commitment I will cut arbitrarily in half or by a third or by 90% is not a rational way of going about it.’” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Could not find a clearly defined plan.

Racial Wealth Gap – Could not find a clearly defined plan.

Voting Rights – Could not find a clearly defined plan.

Affordable Healthcare – “Many of the top Democratic primary candidates have embraced Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all plan, which would essentially eliminate private health insurance. Biden hasn’t. He also hasn’t rolled out his healthcare platform, as Vox’s Sarah Kliff recently wrote, but he seems likely to present a center-left alternative to single-payer.” He supported Obama’s ACA. (Source).

Environmental Racism – “Stand up to the abuse of power by polluters who disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities. Vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted by the climate emergency and pollution. The Biden administration will take action against fossil fuel companies and other polluters who put profit over people and knowingly harm our environment and poison our communities’ air, land, and water, or conceal information regarding potential environmental and health risks. The Biden plan will ensure that communities across the country from Flint, Michigan, to Harlan, Kentucky, to the New Hampshire Seacoast have access to clean, safe drinking water. And he’ll make sure the development of solutions is an inclusive, community-driven process.” (Source).

Cory Booker

democratic debates

Reparations– Introduced S.1083 – H.R. 40 Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. (Source).

Education & Student Debt – Supports “establishing a savings account with $1,000 in it for every baby born in the U.S. Depending on family income, up to another $2,000 a year would be added to the account, which could be accessed for higher education payments or homeownership after the child turns 18. Booker is also co-sponsoring the Schatz bill, and has pushed for tuition-free community colleges, simplifying the student loan process and refinancing existing loans.” (Source).

Police Brutality – “Since announcing his campaign, he has introduced the exhaustive Next Step Act, which would tackle law enforcement practices by prohibiting racial and religious profiling and requiring implicit bias training. This week, he announced that, if elected, he would grant clemency to more than 17,000 nonviolent drug offenders on his first day in office.” (Source).

Prison Reform – His plan is “to use the presidency’s expansive pardon and clemency powers to reform the criminal justice system and scale back the war on drugs — without Congress — if he were to become president,” and  “granting an early release to as many as 17,000 to 20,000 people in federal prison for drug offenses, and establishing a panel within the White House that would make recommendations for more clemency applications in the longer term.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Could not find a clearly defined plan. But, in 2014, introduced the “Startup Opportunity Accelerator, or SOAR, Act. The legislation would direct $25 million of funding over five years to a U.S. Small Business Administration program called the Growth Accelerator Fund. The program allows business startups to compete for funding to help their businesses grow.” (Source).

Racial Wealth Gap – “His baby bonds proposal, the American Opportunity Accounts Act, would virtually close the racial wealth gap by funding a federally-backed savings account for every child born in America that grows with them as they grow up, ensuring that all children born in this country are afforded the opportunity for upward mobility.” (Source).

Voting Restrictions –  Supports “a new and expanded Voting Rights Act, which would not only restore provisions of the original act but also tackle gerrymandering and make Election Day a national holiday, among other changes” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – In April, as senator, he “joined 14 of his Senate colleagues in introducing the Medicare for All Act of 2019, a bill to guarantee healthcare to every American as a right, not a privilege.” (Source).

Environmental Racism – His “Environmental Justice Act strengthens legal protections against environmental injustice for communities of color, low-income communities, and indigenous communities.” (Source).

Pete Buttigieg

democratic debates

Reparations – “On cash reparations for African Americans, Pete Buttigieg says he’s ‘supportive of the concept of acting proactively to right these wrongs,’ but tells us he thinks it would be difficult to create a payment system ‘everybody can believe is fair.’ (Source).“Rev. Al Sharpton asked each of the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates who addressed his National Action Network convention in New York last month whether they back U.S. House of Representatives legislation that would establish a commission to study the institution of slavery and its aftermath and consider making reparations to the descendants of former slaves— he said he would support the proposal.” (Source).

Education & Student Debt – “Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and presidential hopeful, and his husband have over $130,000 in student loan debt;” “His plan: ‘make public tuition free for lower-to middle-income families.’”(Source).

Police Brutality – After a shooting in South Bend by a police officer he said at a town hall, “The mayor told the town hall audience about several issues he wanted to address: use of force, body cameras, police training, police diversity, and the investigation process ― both in general and as it pertains to officer-involved shootings.” (Source).

Prison Reform – Could not find a clear policy but “Buttigieg also aligns with other 2020 candidates on several other key issues that disproportionately affect black Americans, including enfranchising ex-felons, rolling back the private prison industry, ending mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent offenses, and curtailing the use of solitary confinement.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Could not find a clear policy, but, “Buttigieg laid out his agenda for the black community. He said it involves addressing five major issues: homeownership, entrepreneurship, education, health, and justice.” (Source).

Racial Wealth Gap – No clear policy yet, but he “spoke of the importance of integrated neighborhoods, calling for a ‘21st century Homestead Act,’ which he calls the ‘Douglass Plan’ after activist Frederick Douglass. He says the plan would make it easier “to build wealth and equity while also building up neighborhoods in historically underserved areas and making sure we … support those most at risk of being driven out.” (Source).

Voting Rights – He is against voting rights for prisoners. (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – “Pete believes in universal healthcare.” (Source).

Environmental Racism – He addressed the issue: “Our infrastructure is crumbling, and communities of color are disproportionately hurt by decades of neglect in neighborhoods and by unhealthy water systems.” (Source).

Julian Castro

democratic debates

Reparations – “If elected president, 2020 Democratic contender Julián Castro said he would create a commission to explore the possibility of reparations for slavery.” (Source).

Education & Student Debt – Supports creating “a national pre-K program and get rid of tuition for public colleges.” (Source).

Police Brutality – Offers “The People First Policing initiative, which many have called the most comprehensive plan to fix policing among all of the 2020 campaigns, would not just implement implicit bias training and body cameras but completely restrict the use of deadly force ‘unless there is an imminent threat to the life of another person, and all other reasonable alternatives have been exhausted.’ The plan would also restrict any use of force that causes collateral damage (like gunshots).” (Source).

Prison Reform – At a Texas event, it was reported that he, “talked about other criminal justice issues, like changing the nation’s bail system so that low-income Americans aren’t forced to sit in jail for being accused of a crime, while the wealthy can avoid incarceration.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Could not find a clear policy.

Racial Wealth Gap – Could not find a clear policy.

Voting Rights – He “endorsed ‘broadening democratic participation by making it easier for people to participate than by making it more difficult, as some have tried to do, with these voter roll purges, shortening early voting periods and unnecessary voter ID laws.’” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – Said: “We need a better healthcare system in this country. Not a healthcare system that bends to the will of big pharma or the big insurers.” (Source).

Environmental Racism – As the “former mayor of San Antonio, [he] was the first Democratic presidential candidate to visit Flint during the election cycle.” Plan: “Castro’s plan has three main points: increase resources to identify and remediate lead hazards, improve emergency response strategies, and strengthen resources for families impacted by lead poisoning. He also would convene a presidential task force charged with eliminating lead poisoning and coordinating partnerships with state and local governments. The plan includes directing $50 billion during the next decade, $5 billion per year, to replace lead water pipes and remediate lead in paint and soil. The funds would target communities identified by a national assessment of lead poisoning risk factors. Castro also proposes increasing funding to a federal childhood lead poisoning prevention program by $100 million per year. Michigan received $396,566 for lead prevention activities in FY 2018.” (Source).

Bill de Blasio

democratic debates

Reparations “Mr. de Blasio, when asked about the issue during a visit to the South Carolina Democratic Party Black Caucus in Columbia, would only say that he would create a reparations commission to study the issue if he were elected president. ‘It’s time to have that national discussion,’ Mr. de Blasio said.” (Source).

Education & Student Debt – “De Blasio has yet to establish a strong higher education platform. However, his actions in the past suggest he would support measures to make college much more affordable. In 2017, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed the “Excelsior Scholarship,” which would make New York State public colleges tuition-free for many students, de Blasio announced a program to allocate money to New York City children’s savings accounts, which they could eventually use for all college costs — including books and transportation — at both private and public New York colleges.” And, “De Blasio does not yet have a strong solution for student loan debt, but he recognizes it as a crushing issue that is in need of solving. In a 2018 report, he identified three key areas for policy focus. Largely, he found that there is a need to promote community colleges, which are typically much cheaper than four-year institutions.” (Source).

Police Brutality – No clearly stated plan, but, “Under de Blasio’s tenure, the American Civil Liberties Union reported, stop-and-frisk searches have gone way down ― though still disproportionately affect men and boys of color. Citywide implicit bias training, a cornerstone of de Blasio’s campaign and criminal justice reform initiative, started last year with a for-profit training company that doesn’t track whether law enforcement officers actually implement new practices from the training, though officers in other states have reportedly found it effective.” (Source).

Prison Reform – No set presidential plan but he signed “the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which was aimed at changing how the city enforces low-level offenses. In 2018, New York City hit its lowest number of homicides in almost 70 years, a success the mayor frequently touts in talking about his record on crime. De Blasio has also backed efforts to eliminate the cash bail system.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – No set national plan, but as NYC mayor; “Reaching its highest annual level ever, New York City has awarded $3.7 billion in city contracts with minority and women-owned businesses, the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio reports. That total spending for fiscal 2018 is up from $2.5 billion awarded to those businesses for 2017, and more than double from $1.5 billion in 2015. Simultaneously, the city expanded its first loan program in February 2018 to allow eligible M/WBEs to now apply for low-interest loans at 3% up to $1 million, an increase from $500,000 when the program was launched in March 2017.” (Source).

Racial Wealth Gap – No set national plan, but, “In very few ways can we address the rampant growth of wealth among the one percent. The state and the federal government have the power to do that. I called for a tax on the wealthy to fund pre-K. We didn’t achieve that, but we did get the money for pre-K from the state. Now I’m calling for a millionaires tax to fix the subways and to provide the half-cost fare for low-income New Yorkers. If we’re going to have a strong social fabric, if people are going to have faith it’s a fair and open society, they need to see the wealthy paying their fair share. It frustrates me greatly that we don’t have the power here to tax the wealthy in this city.” (Source).

Voting Rights – No set national plan, but, “New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is attempting to pressure the city’s Board of Elections to select at least 100 sites for early voting — nearly three times the number required under state law.” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – “Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced his administration will launch the largest, most comprehensive plan in the nation to guarantee healthcare for every New Yorker.” (Source).

Environmental Racism – As mayor, he introduced “OneNYC— offers a chance to turn this situation around by harnessing climate sustainability initiatives as engines (clean energy–powered) of greater economic equality. The plan seeks to lift 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty over the next decade, and significantly reduce racial and ethnic disparities in premature mortality.” (Source).

 John Delaney

democratic debates

Reparations – Told Al Sharpton he would support the H.R. 40 reparations proposal. (Source).

Education & Student Debt – “While in Congress, Delaney introduced H.R. 3466, the Early Learning Act, which would provide every four-year-old child guaranteed access to a free Pre-K program, fully paid for by a surtax on high-income earners of 1.5% on income over $500,000.” He “introduced legislation to allow borrowers to discharge public and private student loan debt in bankruptcy proceedings.” His platform includes reducing the cost of student loans. (Source). He is also “pledging to use federal dollars to fund startup incubators at HBCUs.” (Source).

Police Brutality – Supports increased funding for police body cameras; promoting “ban the box” policies; providing federal funding for training and support of police officers designed to prevent racial profiling and generally encourage de-escalation; and increase funding for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program to increase community policing. (Source).

Prison Reform – His plan includes: End or limit the use of money bail in the federal criminal justice system and encourage states to pursue similar reforms. Cash bail is excessive, discriminatory, and costly for taxpayers and communities; end for-profit prisons; eliminate mandatory minimum sentences; increase funding for public defenders; end the death penalty; remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and create strong federal guidelines and taxation policies to support decisions at the state level; and increase federal support for recidivism reduction programs that have proven to be effective. (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – “Ensure minority entrepreneurs have access to capital (an example is to create a new SBIC program to encourage entrepreneurship and focus venture capital investment to distressed communities); create a federal grant program to fund startup incubators and accelerators at HBCUs; institute a tax credit to promote venture capital investments in minority-owned businesses.” (Source).

Racial Wealth Gap – He “proposed legislation to create nonprofit banks to increase access to banking services in distressed communities.” Says, “Banks don’t currently serve these communities. To solve this problem, we need to allow for philanthropic, non-profit banks, specifically to serve these distressed communities.” Also wants to “restore CFPB’s focus on anti-discrimination regulations in financial services to ensure people aren’t discriminated against.” (Source).

Voting Rights – He “supports automatic voter registration and same-day registration.” In his presidential stump-speeches, Delaney has reportedly adopted gerrymandering and campaign finance reform—two of the key concerns he wishes to address”; “John supports the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would require that states with a history of violating voting rights get approval from the Department of Justice before making any changes to election procedures or voting requirements.” “As a congressman, Delaney introduced the Open Our Democracy Act legislation aimed at ending gerrymandering and establishing Election Day as a federal holiday.”  (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – Supports universal healthcare. (Source).

Environmental Racism – His plan is to “invest targeted infrastructure funding in minority communities to address issues including inadequate water systems and expanding public transportation.” (Source).

 Tulsi Gabbard

democratic debates

Reparations – She cosponsored H.R.40 – Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. (Source).

Education & Student Debt – Says, “I’ve supported legislation to help alleviate the burden of student loans on our students and begin to find a solution to this crisis. I helped to launch the Congressional Future Caucus my first year in Congress, which is focused on bringing millennial leaders from both sides of the aisle together, to address the challenges of our generation. We introduced the Pathways to Affordable Education Act in my first term, aimed at safeguarding Pell Grants through increased funding and expanding eligibility to increase access for low-income students. I’ve also supported bills like the HELP for Students and Parents Act, which would give tax credits to businesses that assist in paying off the student loans of their employees, taking much off of their monthly payment burden off of their backs of these working graduates.

Now, this year I’ve supported legislation like the College for All Act, which would eliminate tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities for families that make up to $125,000 a year, and it would make community college tuition fee-free for everyone—something that’s already practice[d] in countries like Germany, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.” (Source).

Police Brutality – Could not find a defined policy but in 2014 she called for demilitarizing of American police. (Source). 

Prison Reform – “Tulsi is fighting to reform America’s broken criminal justice system by working to reduce mandatory minimums for certain non-violent offenders, recidivism rates, crime rates, and the social and economic cost of an over-criminalized society.” (Source:

Black Entrepreneurship – Could not find a policy.

Racial Wealth Gap – Could not find a policy.

Voting Restrictions – Could not find a policy but promotes ‘racial equality’. (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – ‘Committed to working to ensure that affordable healthcare is available to all Americans.’ Supports Medicare for All. (Source).

Environmental Racism – Could not find a national policy, but she has a strong, pro-environment record. (Source).

Kirsten Gillibrand

democratic debates

Reparations – She co-sponsored S.1083 – H.R. 40 Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. (Source).

Education & Student Debt –Says, “We need to allow graduates and their families to refinance their student loans at lower rates, unleashing billions into the economy. We should make community college tuition-free, and we should work toward debt-free college by eliminating tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities for students from families that make up to $125,000 per year.” (Source).

Police Brutality – Could not find a defined policy but “led efforts to fight injustices and close disparities in law enforcement.” (Source).

Prison Reform – Says, “We should legalize marijuana at the federal level and expunge past records; reform our sentencing laws so that judges can have more flexibility when dealing with low-level, nonviolent drug offenses; change federal rules for our prisons; end cash bail; and invest resources in communities harmed by the racist war on drugs.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship –  As Senator, she supported “Microloan Modernization Act, to expand the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Microloan Program that provides loans and technical assistance to women and minority business owners, among other entrepreneurs who face challenges accessing the capital needed to start and expand small businesses because they are often denied loans by banks.” (Source).

Racial Wealth Gap – “She wrote and introduced a bill to establish postal banking, which would let people without checking accounts—disproportionately people of color—open accounts and take out small loans at their local post office.” (Source).

Voting Restrictions – She “believes we need to restore the Voting Rights Act and then go even further: We should enact automatic voter registration for every 18-year-old citizen, expand access to online registration and early voting, make Election Day a federal holiday, and end partisan gerrymandering and voter roll.” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – She “supports Medicare for All.” (Source).

Environmental Racism – Could not find a clear plan but she supports the Green New Deal. (Source).

Kamala Harris

democratic debates

Reparations – She co-sponsored S.1083 – H.R. 40 Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. (Source).

Education & Student Debt – Plan includes “immediately allowing current debt holders to refinance high-interest loans to lower rates, expanding Income Based Repayment (IBR) to ensure no student pays more than they can afford, and cracking down on for-profit colleges and lenders that defraud our students.” And, “In the Senate, Kamala fought to pass her HBCU Historic Preservation Reauthorization Bill to rebuild HBCU campus infrastructure and co-sponsored legislation to permanently increase funding for MSIs. As president, she’ll continue her lifelong commitment to these landmark institutions by making attendance debt-free for students and making a multibillion investment in programs that teach the next generation of leaders of color.” (Source).

Police Brutality – She said, “police shootings and cases of alleged brutality by law enforcement officials should be handed off to independent investigators, breaking with her long-held resistance to taking prosecutorial discretion away from locally elected district attorneys.” (Source).

Prison Reform – Her plan is to “legalize marijuana, further reform federal sentencing laws, end private prisons and the profiting off of people in prison, and push states to prioritize treatment and rehabilitation for drug offenses. She will also seek a federal moratorium on the death penalty. To help ensure those returning from prison and jail can successfully re-enter their communities, Kamala will start by fighting to expunge records for marijuana offenses, increase investments in re-entry support and job training programs, and take executive action to ‘ban the box’ so employers consider a job candidate’s qualifications first—without the stigma of a former conviction.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Could not find a stated policy.

Racial Wealth Gap – Her “first priority as president will be to give working and middle-class families an overdue income boost. Under her plan, she’ll reverse President Trump’s trillion-dollar tax cut for big corporations and the top 1% and use that money to give a tax credit of up to $6,000 to working families each year. That’s just the start. To raise wages, Kamala will fight to empower unions, make a $15 minimum wage the national floor, and create stricter penalties for companies that cheat their workers. While Kamala fights for fair wages, she’ll work to constrain the rising costs that keep Americans up at night. She’ll pass her Rent Relief Act to provide a tax credit for people spending 30% or more of their income on rent and utilities. She’ll increase the federal government’s investment in childcare to ensure working families don’t pay more than 7% of their income on care. And she’ll crack down on pharmaceutical companies that price-gouge while empowering the government to negotiate down the price of prescription drugs.” (Source).

Voting Rights –Says she “will restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, require the availability of early voting, fight for automatic voter registration, and make Election Day a national holiday.” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – She “believes we must guarantee Medicare for All.” (Source).

Environmental Racism – Says, “It shouldn’t matter how much money you have or what neighborhood you live in — clean air and water are fundamental rights. That’s why Kamala created the first-ever environmental justice unit in San Francisco as District Attorney. It’s why, as Attorney General, Kamala sued corporations for exposing residents to high levels of diesel.” (Source).

John Hickenlooper

democratic debates

Reparations– Told Sharpton he would support the proposal. (Source).

Education & Student Debt –  Says, “I think the first thing, as president I would lower the interest rate down to 2.5%, or as low as I can get it, without taking any risk.” (Source).

Police Brutality – Could not find a clear policy.

Prison Reform – Says, “In Colorado, we changed the sentencing guidelines for drug crimes and focused on rehabilitation and treatment, giving prosecutors the option of diversion instead of jail time. As a country, we need to go far beyond the new First Step Act, which includes critical reforms to federal prisons, but does not do anything meaningful about mass incarceration.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Could not find a stated policy.

Racial Wealth Gap – Could not find a stated policy.

Voting Rights – “In 2013, Hickenlooper signed into law a major expansion of voting rights in Colorado. The Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act includes a number of provisions that would make it easier to register and vote. With the governor’s signature Friday, Colorado is now the 11th state to enact Election-Day registration, which leads to higher registration rates and turnout. The bill institutes a system of portable registration so that when voters move they can still cast a ballot which will count. It also establishes a bipartisan election modernization task force, paving the way for future reforms. Further, the bill eliminates the problematic ‘inactive-failed to vote’ status that led to voters being denied ballots in certain elections simply because they had failed to vote a single time.” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare– “He wants to build on Obamacare rather than dismantle it, and work to help “private insurers succeed” and provide better coverage” Also said, “instead of battling over Medicare for All or universal coverage, I think the goal of the election is to really say, we all believe in universal coverage.” (Source).

Environmental Racism – Reported that “he supports the idea of the Green New Deal but has stopped short of embracing any specific portion of the resolution in Congress.” (Source).

Jay Inslee

democratic debates

Reparations – Said, “I think that we have a history in this country that we need to remedy. And I think we should look at the things that have the broadest applications to do that. And the kind of things we should do is focus on ending intergenerational poverty. This has been a pernicious result of racial disparity for a long time in our society. That’s why I’ve been so focused on increasing early childhood education. Being in a zip code should not be your destiny in poverty. That’s why I’ve had such diversity in people that I’ve hired; it’s why I’ve offered pardons to people because of the drug war history that resulted in significant racial disparities. So I think a lot of these things can end the pernicious effects of decades of racial disparity…I think they will have broad support of the American people…” (Source).

Education & Student Debt – He “unveiled a plan for tackling higher education costs in his home state in January. The College Promise grant will offer financial aid for more than 93,000 students by 2021. ‘A student’s financial situation should not prohibit them from pursuing their dreams,’ Inslee said.” (Source).

Police Brutality – As Governor, he signed a bill that “changes the law for use of deadly force by police officers and requires officers to take additional de-escalation training.” (Source).

Prison Reform – He “voted YES on expanding services for offenders’ re-entry into society” and  “voted YES on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Could not find a stated policy.

Racial Wealth Gap – Could not find a stated policy.

Voting Rights – As governor, he “signed five bills — dubbed the Access to Democracy package — to improve voter access and strengthen democracy in Washington state.” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – As governor, he “signed a bill…that will reinforce a significant number of consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act, including the much-discussed right that no person will be denied health coverage because they have a pre-existing medical condition.” (Source).

Environmental Racism –Could not find a stated plan but he is leading climate change policy with a “bold and ambitious agenda to mobilize the United States to transition to 100% clean energy, create 8 million good, family-supporting jobs, and reassert America’s global leadership in confronting the climate crisis that is the defining challenge of our time.” (Source).

Amy Klobuchar

democratic debates

Reparations – She co-sponsored S.1083 – H.R. 40 Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. (Source).

Education & Student Debt – Reported that “she plans to ‘get something done when it comes to student loans,’ but it doesn’t involve eliminating debt or making four-year public colleges tuition-free.’ Under her plan, Pell Grant programs would be expanded, community college would be free, and graduates would be able to refinance their student loans.” (Source).

Police Brutality – Could not find a defined plan. But – “Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota served as “top cop” county attorney in Hennepin County ― which includes Minneapolis ― for eight years in the early 2000s. During that time, Klobuchar declined to criminally charge several law enforcement officers who used excessive force despite their roles in 29 civilian deaths.” (Source).

Prison Reform – “Klobuchar’s plan would tap into one of the president’s few nearly absolute powers: the ability to grant pardons and commutations to any federal prison inmate. By setting up a new system for clemency as soon as possible, she aims to release thousands of people with overly long prison sentences who’ve shown signs of rehabilitation.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Could not find a stated policy.

Racial Wealth Gap – “I believe that we have to invest in those communities that have been so hurt by racism,” she told moderator Chuck Todd during Sunday’s morning edition of NBC’s Meet the Press.” (Source).

Voting Rights – As Senator she “introduced the SAVE VOTERS Act to protect the constitutional rights of Americans from voter “purges.” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – She is for improving “Obamacare as opposed to how best to overhaul it.” (Source).

Environmental Racism – Says, “Providing communities with clean drinking water and flood protection is critical. Many rural communities across Minnesota are unable to shoulder the financial burden of upgrading or reconstructing key infrastructure projects. We need to invest in the proper infrastructure to keep communities strong and help them continue to grow.” (Source).

Beto O’Rourke

democratic debates

Reparations – Says he supports reparations. (Source).

Education & Student Debt – “Said he does not support tuition-free public college, according to a video posted by the progressive political advocacy group Campaign for America’s Future. ‘No. I am not for free college for all,’ O’Rourke said in response to a question during a campaign stop at Grinnell College. Asked for further details about his position on college affordability, the O’Rourke campaign shared a longer statement from a town hall on higher education this month in Carroll, Iowa. O’Rourke said he supported free community college, and he appeared to back calls for debt-free, as opposed to tuition-free, four-year public college.” (Source).

Police Brutality – Could not find a defined plan but “weighed in on the controversy surrounding professional football players kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police violence. In a viral video from a campaign event [while running against Cruz], the congressman told a person in the crowd that he could ‘think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up or take a knee for your rights anytime, anywhere, anyplace.’” (Source). He also “vowed to confront the ‘over-policing of black and brown neighborhoods.’” (Source).

Prison Reform – Says he will “end cash bail at the state level, make for-profit prisons illegal, and end mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Said, “we need to work together to invest in black communities, encourage black entrepreneurship.” (Source).

Racial Wealth Gap – “He has placed the BEA policy agenda — increasing work, wages, and wealth as a means for bolstering success within the Black community — at the center of his campaign. As evidenced by the campaign’s key policy papers, O’Rourke’s campaign not only supports the BEA’s policy agenda, but it has made it a key priority.” (Source).

Voting Rights – His plan “seeks to dramatically increase voting access through steps that include automatic and same-day registration and expanded early voting — and turning Election Day into a national holiday.” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – Could not find a clear plan, but Vox reports that he “supports the idea of universal healthcare.” (Source).

Environmental Racism – Says, “Climate change has a distressingly disproportionate impact on poor and minority communities across the United States and around the world. Race is the No. 1 indicator for where toxic and polluting facilities are today.” Has four-part plan. (Source).

Tim Ryan

democratic debates

Reparations – Told Al Sharpton he supports reparations legislation. (Source).

Education & Student Debt – Says, “Student debt not only makes buying a home difficult but it’s a major obstacle for many Americans to invest in their own future. Student debt has skyrocketed to $1.5 trillion. It’s outrageous. It’s why I’m fighting for tuition-free and debt-free college.” (Source).

Police Brutality – Could not find a defined policy.

Prison Reform – As a representative, he “co-sponsored the Smarter Sentencing Act, which would reduce mandatory minimum drug sentences so expensive prison beds are saved for the most dangerous offenders.” Also says, “I also co-sponsored the Sentencing Reform Act, a bill that would give courts the flexibility to reduce the mandatory minimum prison term imposed on nonviolent defendants convicted of a high-level first-time or low-level repeat drug offense. Lastly, I was proud to support the Democracy Restoration Act, legislation declaring that the right to vote cannot be denied to formerly-incarcerated U.S. citizens once they have paid their debt to society. These reforms will give more of our citizens a second chance at being a contributing member of our nation and its economy.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Could not find a stated policy.

Racial Wealth Gap – Could not find a stated policy.

Voting Rights – Could not find a stated policy but believes “gerrymandering could have a big impact on the 2020 election.” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – Says, “I believe the first and most immediate step needs to be the creation of a public option that allows Americans to buy into Medicare without eliminating private health insurance options until we can implement Medicare for All in a way that makes sense for the country.” (Source). 

Environmental Racism – Could not find a stated policy but agenda features environmental/climate change issues. “A national commitment to clean energy not only reduces our carbon footprint but also creates opportunities for new, good-paying jobs in communities across the country.” (Source).

Bernie Sanders

democratic debates

Reparations – “’If the House and Senate pass that bill, of course, I would sign it,’” Vermont Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders promised Sharpton.” (Source).

Education & Student Debt – His plan is to “completely eliminate the student loan debt of every American, staking out uncharted territory in the Democratic presidential primary. The new legislation would cancel $1.6 trillion of student loan undergraduate and graduate debt for approximately 45 million people. His ambitious plan has no eligibility limitations and would be paid for with a new tax on Wall Street speculation.’” (Source).  Also supports HBCUs. Said, “We must make public colleges, universities and trade schools, tuition-free—including for the 76% of HBCU students who attend public colleges—and increase public funding for all HBCUs.” (Source).

Police Brutality – Supports “major police department reform.” (Source).

Prison Reform – Supports ending, “once and for all, the destructive ‘war on drugs,’ including legalizing marijuana; eliminating ‘private prisons and detention centers; ending ‘cash bail; abolishing the death penalty; ending ‘all mandatory minimums and reinstate the federal system of parole;’” and “reforming ‘civil asset forfeitures.’” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Says “redlining prevents businesses owned by people of color from getting loans, and predatory lending results in higher interest rates in low-income communities of color.” He wants to “end redlining practices.” (Source).

Racial Wealth Gap – Sanders wants to end housing discrimination; “end the affordable housing crisis and create a path to wealth building through homeownership; supports the 10-20-30 approach to federal investments which focuses substantial federal resources on distressed communities that have high levels of poverty; raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.” Also, says  “Black and Latinx workers disproportionately work minimum wage jobs. Raising the minimum wage will increase the wages of 38% of African American workers and 33% of Latinx workers.’ ‘End the discriminatory practices in our financial services. We must allow every post office to offer basic and affordable banking services and end lending discrimination once and for all.” (Source).

Voting Restrictions – He wanst to “restore the Voting Rights Act;” “re-enfranchise the right to vote to the 1 in 13 African Americans who have had their vote taken away by a felony conviction, paid their debt to society, and deserve to have their rights restored”; “Secure automatic voter registration for every American over 18”; “End voter suppression and gerrymandering”; “Abolish burdensome voter ID laws; and “Make Election Day a national holiday.” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – Says “Joining every other major country on Earth and guaranteeing healthcare to all people as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program;’ ‘Allow Medicare to negotiate with the big drug companies to lower prescription drug prices with the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act; ‘Allow patients, pharmacists, and wholesalers to buy low-cost prescription drugs from Canada and other industrialized countries with the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act;’ ‘Cut prescription drug prices in half, with the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, by pegging prices to the median drug price in five major countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan.’” (Source).

Environmental Racism – He wants to “Enact a Green New Deal not just to save the planet, but to protect our most vulnerable communities. We must end the scourge of environmental racism, and at the same time create green jobs to support and rebuild the local economies of affected communities;” “Protect low-income and minority communities, who are hit first and worst by the causes and impacts of climate change, while also protecting existing energy-sector workers as they transition into clean energy and other jobs;” “Address the inadequate environmental cleanup efforts of Superfund hazardous waste sites in communities of color;” “Stop the exposure of people of color to harmful chemicals, pesticides and other toxins in homes, schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces and challenge faulty assumptions in calculating, assessing, and managing risks, discriminatory zoning and land-use practices and exclusionary policies;” and “Enact a Green New Deal to mitigate climate change and focus on building resilience in low-income and minority communities.” (Source).

Eric Swalwell

democratic debates

Reparations – He co-sponsored H.R.40 – Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. (Source).

Education & Student Debt – Has student loan debt. He “signed on to the Debt-Free College Resolution, which calls for students to be able to graduate from public colleges and without debt.” Also says” I’m also leading legislation to allow student loan borrowers to refinance their loans at a lower rate, something they can’t do today, the same way people can refinance their home and auto loans.” (Source).

Police Brutality – Says he would “require any police department that receives federal funds to force its officers to wear body cameras, and that there should be an effort to make police forces look as racially diverse as their communities.” (Source). 

Prison Reform – Plan includes: ‘Legalize marijuana’; ‘End private prisons’: ‘Send fewer people to prison; ‘Restore rights’; (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – No clear policy but in 2015, he “introduced the Start-Up America’s Students Act, a bill that would create a competitive grant program to establish, expand, or improve business incubators operated by or affiliated with universities and colleges.” (Source).

Racial Wealth Gap – Could not find a stated policy.

Voting Rights – He “co-sponsored multiple items of legislation to increase transparency in campaign finance, expand public funding of elections, bolster the Voting Rights Act, and require states to use independent commissions to draw congressional districts.” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – He “supports a ‘Medicare for All’ system that wouldn’t eliminate private insurance altogether but would offer a public option that would guarantee government healthcare coverage to those who want it.” (Source).

Environmental Racism – Could not find a stated policy but has good environmental justice voting record as per League of Conservation Voters. (Source).

Elizabeth Warren

democratic debates

Reparations – She co-sponsored S.1083 – H.R. 40 Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. (Source).

Education & Student Debt – “Under Elizabeth’s plan, 75% of Americans with student loan debt would have their debt completely canceled. Elizabeth’s plan would also make a $50B investment in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the largest investment ever for HBCUs. Elizabeth’s plan is funded by an Ultra-Millionaire Tax on the wealth of the tippy-top 0.1% of Americans. Assuming your net worth is less than $50M, you will pay $0 for it.’” (Source).

Police Brutality – Supports “embracing community policing and demilitarizing our local police forces.” (Source).

Prison Reform – Supports “banning private prisons”; “comprehensive sentencing reform and rewriting our laws to decriminalize marijuana.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – She is “proposing a new plan to help close the startup capital gap for black and brown entrepreneurs: a Small Business Equity Fund, run by my new Department of Economic Development. This Fund will be equipped with $7 billion to provide grants — not loans — to entrepreneurs for startup capital so their businesses can thrive from the beginning without having to worry about ongoing interest payments or the risk of default.” (Source).

Racial Wealth Gap – Plan is to “stop handing out giant tax giveaways to rich people and giant corporations and start asking the people who have gained the most from our country to pay their fair share.

“That includes an Ultra-Millionaire Tax on America’s 75,000 richest families to produce trillions that can be used to build an economy that works for everyone, including universal childcare, student loan debt relief, and down payments on a Green New Deal and Medicare for All. And we can make a historic investment in housing that would bring down rents by 10% across America and create 1.5 million new jobs” (Source).

Voting Rights – She wants to “eliminate unnecessary and unjustified rules that make voting more difficult, and overturn every single voter suppression rule that racist politicians use to steal votes from people of color.” She says, “We need to outlaw partisan gerrymandering by Democrats and Republicans.” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – She supports Medicare for All. (Source).

Environmental Racism – Could not find a stated policy but she has a “99% lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters’ on issues related to environmental justice. (Source).

Marianne Williamson

democratic debates

Reparations – She says, “What I have proposed is $200 to $500 billion — I think anything less than $100 billion is an insult.” (Source).

Education & Student Debt – She supports “universal pre-school for all children”; “increased funding for free and reduced-price lunches, so that they cover breakfasts as well;” “free college or technical school tuition for every qualified student”; and “student loan amnesty.” She says, “we need to explore student loan forgiveness and options to remove red tape and lockouts, and reduce on-time payments from 10 years to 5 years.” She also supports “low-cost education for those in middle and older age who have been dropped from our economy yet still retain, as all people do, the God-given potential to create meaning for themselves and others.” (Source).

Police Brutality – She supports “police and At-Risk Youth Relationship Building,” and “community policing.” (Source).

Prison Reform – Her plans include: “early intervention and addressing poverty;” “restorative justice,” a “reconciliation-focused justice process that can bring healing to victims and communities, much more so than solely punitive-minded criminal justice approaches;” creating “a trauma-informed environment inside the juvenile justice system;” and “increasing the number of programs in prisons that provide life-skills for those who are incarcerated.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Could not find a stated policy.

Racial Wealth Gap – She wants to “provide immediate cash relief through a Universal Basic Income;” “create jobs through a Green New Deal;” “create jobs through a Caring Economy;” and “increase wealth through a Universal Savings Plan.” (Source).

Voting Rights – She supports “state-by-state rejection of politicized gerrymandering;” and “elimination of unfounded restrictions on eligible voters, such as voter picture ID’s.”

Affordable Healthcare – She says “I robustly support high-quality universal health coverage for every American. I will do this by making Medicare an option on the Obamacare exchanges. Over time, more people will migrate to Medicare. I also support federal subsidies to ensure medical coverage for every American, even those in states which have refused Medicaid expansion.” (Source).

Environmental Racism – Could not find a clear policy but she says, “those with lower income, people of color, indigenous communities, and other vulnerable populations must be prioritized.” (Source).

Andrew Yang

democratic debates

Reparations – “Yang, who pitched his $1,000 a month Universal Basic Income platform called reparations a ‘logical step.’ ‘I would go again further, I would put $1,000 a month in the hands of every adult starting at age 18 and then I would say this is not reparations. We need to study reparations independently of the fact that we can make this economy work for you all, minimum, minimum,’ he said.”  (Source).

Education & Student Debt – Details of his plan are: “Propose the 10×10 Student Loan Emancipation Act, a plan by which the federal government would buy student loan debt (negotiated rate with the private lenders) and allow students to opt into a plan to repay it through pledging 10% of their salary per year for 10 years, after which the balance would be forgiven. Ask schools to forgive in part or in whole the debts of those who do not graduate. Initiate a program that allows graduates to pay a percent[age] of income instead of a fixed amount. Establish a commission that will explore debt forgiveness or reduction for students who sought degrees under false pretenses. Change bankruptcy laws to make it easier to discharge educational debt. Expand a program that forgives the debt of graduates who work in rural areas or with underprivileged populations. Close schools with high loan default rates and consistently low employment placement success. Police and prosecute all marketing representations of schools that might induce enrollment under false pretenses.  Allow student loan debt to be discharged through bankruptcy, thus forcing lenders to work with students in good faith to find workable repayment plans.” (Source). Also says “Federal government needs to step in and shore up the endowments of [HBCUs].” (Source).

Police Brutality – Supports every police officer in the nation wearing a bodycam. (Source).

Prison Reform – His plans include “review the current mandatory minimum laws to bring them in line with what data shows us is effective;” “shift federal drug policy away from punishment and towards treatment;” “end the use of for-profit, private prisons;” “fund programs targeted at reducing recidivism and increasing reintegration;” and “push for a reconsideration of the harshness of our felony laws, including an investigation into any civil rights issues raised by the disproportionate amount of minorities convicted of these crimes.” (Source).

Black Entrepreneurship – Cannot find stated policy but believes, “We need to ensure that all businesses are playing fair so that our small business community can thrive.” (Source).

Racial Wealth Gap – “Andrew would implement a Universal Basic Income, ‘the Freedom Dividend,’ of $1,000/month, $12,000 a year for every American adult over the age of 18. This is independent of one’s work status or any other factor.” (Source).

Believes that “the federal government must do more to ensure that anyone performing the same work in substantially similar situations should receive equal pay.” (Source). Thinks that the “NCAA should pay athletes.” (Source).

Also thinks “the federal government should give each working-age American $100 per year to donate to a 501(c)3 non-profit;’ supports free financial counseling for all.” (Source).

He supports “opt-in retirement accounts that have defined contributions that automatically increase with people’s income;” (Source) and says the “federal government should subsidize the moving costs for Americans who are relocating for work” (source).

Voting Rights – He supports the restoration of Voting Rights; “Automatic Voter Registration;” making Election Day a holiday; lowering the voting age to 16; ranked-choice voting where “each voter ranks their top three candidates, from 1 to 3. After this is complete, every voter’s first choice is tallied. If one candidate received over 50% of the vote, they win the election’” (Source).

Affordable Healthcare – He supports Medicare for All. (Source). 

Environmental Racism – Said “Because a community may not have political clout that doesn’t mean we can poison their kids;’ believes Flint crisis underlying cause is racism,” and promises to address Flint is elected. (Source). He also would implement a Preservation of Public Lands and Water policy (source) ; and proposes “a carbon fee and dividend, similar to the one proposed by the conservative Climate Leadership Council, would allow businesses to find market-based solutions to their carbon release while benefiting American citizens and providing funding for alternative fuel research and upgrades to our current energy systems.” (Source).



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