In Appeal to Win Black Voters, Kamala Harris Heads to Motor City

by Xara Aziz
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

Vice President Kamala Harris is back in Detroit, a pivotal city in a crucial swing state, to underscore the administration’s investments in Black-owned businesses and policy initiatives aimed at fostering generational wealth, especially among Black voters.

Her visit coincided with a flurry of diverse events, including Israel’s rejection of a cease-fire negotiated by Egypt and Qatar, which Hamas had accepted, and Columbia University canceling its commencement due to weeklong protests and counter-protests on campus. Nearby, pro-Palestinian demonstrators staged protests against the White House’s backing of Israel’s military actions in Gaza, branding Vice President Harris as “war criminal Kamala Harris.”

Harris’s second stop at Detroit’s renowned Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History featured speeches aimed at energizing and mobilizing the Democratic Party’s core constituency—Black voters—alongside a significant announcement: the allocation of $100 million in federal funds to support small and medium-sized auto parts manufacturers, including Black-owned businesses, in producing components for electric vehicles.

“We all know Black entrepreneurs do not lack for ideas or ambition but often lack the capital that is necessary to turn an idea into a thriving business, to invest in inventory, hire employees, to scale up,” she said. “In fact, Black entrepreneurs are three times as likely to not apply for a loan, for fear they’re going to be turned away from a bank.”

She also discussed debt forgiveness.

“In Wayne County, Michigan, we will forgive an additional $700 million in medical debt for as many as 300,000 people,” Harris said, drawing applause from the mostly Black audience.

Harris, delivering prepared remarks from behind a lectern, departed from the fireside chat format she utilized last week in Atlanta, focusing predominantly on showcasing the administration’s policies. However, preceding speakers like Ron Busby, the president and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers Inc., seized the opportunity to denounce Republicans for turning diversity and inclusion programs into a divisive wedge issue.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are truly under attack,” Busby said. “It’s not some mythological concept that’s going on. When they talk about DEI, it’s you and I that are under attack.”

Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump is on the attack. As he headed to court in Manhattan where he currently facing conviction in a hush money case, said Democrats are to blame for the ongoing protests.

“The country is on fire, there are protests all over the country. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Trump said in a video later that later appeared on his social media platform Truth Social. “Many graduations … they canceled, as you know Columbia, they’re canceling a lot of them. And we have a president that just refuses to talk.”

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