UPDATE: 5/10/19 - Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Senator Elizabeth Warren have confirmed they will participate. They will join the previously-confirmed Senator Cory Booker and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the event.
-Original Post Below-
The Black Economic Alliance, a nonpartisan group founded by Black executives and business leaders, announced today that it will be hosting a first-of-its-kind presidential candidate discussion focused on expanding economic opportunity for Black Americans. Set for Saturday, June 15th at the historic Charleston Music Hall, the forum will be televised exclusively on BET Networks.
United States Senator Cory Booker and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg have already confirmed their participation in the event, which will be moderated and executive produced by the award-winning broadcast journalist, author, and producer, Soledad O’Brien. In addition, invitations have also been sent to U.S. Senators Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren as well as former Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Vice-President Joe Biden – each of whom were invited to participate in the forum after reaching 3% of support among voters in early-state polls. Each participating candidate will discuss the key economic issues facing the Black community and how their proposed policies will make progress in the years to come.
Ticket information will be announced at a later date.
“Black families across the country have been disproportionately disadvantaged by social and institutional barriers that have largely barred them from achieving sustainable economic progress," Dr. Tony Coles, Co-Chair of the Black Economic Alliance, said. "This forum will ensure that the top candidates for the highest office in the land have both a vision and a plan to guarantee each and every American has an equal chance to participate meaningfully in our economy.”
According to the Black Economic Alliance: "Over the past 50 years, the Black community has fallen increasingly behind other groups across a range of economic measures including unemployment levels, income, and home ownership. In fact, a recent report by the Wall Street Journal shows that the rate of Black unemployment remains well above the overall unemployment rate and that 'Black workers have received far smaller pay increases in recent years compared with other racial groups.'"
“Black communities across the country deserve to have their issues discussed at the highest levels of Presidential politics – and this forum will make sure that happens,” Scott Mills, President of BET Networks, said. “I’m excited to hear the candidates’ discussions on how all Americans can participate in the new, 21st-century economy.”
Launched in 2018, the Black Economic Alliance is focused on advocating for economic policies that will advance work, wages, and wealth in Black communities. The Presidential Candidates Forum will be co-sponsored by the Black Economic Alliance Foundation, an affiliated organization focused on policy development and research regarding economic progress in Black communities.
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