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VP Harris stops by Atlanta 100 Black Men event to shore up Georgia base ahead of election


VP Harris stops by Atlanta 100 Black Men event to shore up Georgia base ahead of election

Jun 14, 2024 | 8:35 pm ET
By Stanley Dunlap
VP Harris stops by Atlanta 100 Black Men event to shore up Georgia base ahead of election
Vice President Kamala Harris is interviewed by comedian Steve Harvey at 100 Black Men event in Atlanta June 14, 2024. Stanley Dunlap/Georgia Recorder

Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Atlanta for the national conference of 100 Black Men of America allowed her to promote the Biden-Harris administration’s historic investments in economic development ahead of the looming Nov. 5 Election Day.

A majority Black audience of several thousand people packed into a downtown Atlanta Hyatt Regency ballroom to participate in a half-hour conversation with Harris while she’s on the latest leg of her so-called national Economic Opportunity Tour.

During the discussion moderated by TV host and comedian Steve Harvey, Harris stressed the importance of Black people accessing hundreds of billions of dollars of federal dollars allocated to infrastructure projects, small business loans, and other government programs that have been available over the past couple of years.

Harris said President Joe Biden’s administration has delivered historic progress in economic opportunities that are being underleveraged by Black entrepreneurs and others who have long faced systemic barriers to financial resources. 

 Harris urged the crowd to spread the word about programs for small business loans, government contracts, a proposal for $25,000 down payment credit for first-time home buyers, and the student loan forgiveness program that so far has provided more than $160 billion in debt relief to 5 million Americans.  

Harris also discussed steps taken to support community banks that can provide financial advice and support tailored for a specific community more than a traditional bank.

She also mentioned the steps taken to achieve a goal of a 50% increase in federal government contracts for minority-owned firms since entering office in 2021.

“When we talk about the need for people to have access to economic opportunity we have to take into account what holds people back because we don’t lack for hard work, work ethic, good ideas and vision and inspiration,” Harris said. “But there are obstacles built into the system that have to be addressed to give people the opportunity. It’s not about a handout. It’s about giving hardworking people the opportunity and not just to get by.”

Biden and Harris are entering the final stretch of their 2024 re-election campaign ahead of the Nov. 5 election showdown against former President Donald Trump in a rematch of their 2020 contest. 

Harvey expressed frustration about hearing from Black people calling his national morning radio show criticizing the  Biden-Harris administration and other Democratic officials for not doing enough to support Black people. 

“This administration needs to get the word out of what they are actually doing and what they actually accomplish so we just stop saying ‘what did you do for Black people,’” he said. 

Harris’ trip to Atlanta Friday was her fourth visit to Georgia this year. In April, the most recent stopover, she visited Atlanta to highlight the area’s award of a $158 million grant from the Department of Transportation’s Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Program. 

On Tuesday, Harris will return to Atlanta to attend rapper Quavo’s inaugural Rocket Foundation Summit to discuss policies to prevent gun violence in communities. Quavo, whose real name is Quavious Marshall, gained national fame in 2013 as one-third of the Lawrenceville-based Migos rap group. The group disbanded following the November 2022 shooting death of Marshall’s nephew and Migos rapper Kirsnick “TakeOff” Ball.

Trump’s April visit to a west Atlanta Chick-fil-A became a viral moment nationally prior to Trump attending a fundraiser for his campaign later that evening. It was the first time Trump visited Georgia since he turned himself into custody at Atlanta’s Rice Street Jail in August after being indicted on charges of conspiring to illegally overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.