Biden in appeal to Black voters touts record to National Action Network


Looking to buoy support among Black voters, President Biden rattled off a list of promises kept, from police reform to relieving student debt, on Friday to the National Action Network.

In brief remarks to the civil rights organization, Biden praised his administration for pushing an agenda that builds Black wealth, protects voting rights and promotes gun control.

Biden did not attend the Manhattan convention at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in person. Instead he gave a short speech via live video from the White House, where he attacked the Republican and conservative assault on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

“We know there is much more work to do,” the Democratic president said. “There are real threats we face. There are more extreme voices out there that simply don’t want to see people of color in the future of our country. They want to turn back the clock: voter suppression, election suppression… banning books, attempting to erase history, embracing political violence like what happened on Jan. 6.

“These extremists are determined to erase the progress we’ve made,” Biden said. “But together we are determined to make history, not erase it.”

Biden also touted investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, reductions in child poverty and boosts to Black-owned businesses.

He called the National Action Network “the nation’s most important civil rights organization.” Ten senior members of his administration participated in plenary sessions or fireside chats at the network’s meeting.

“We’ve been on the same page,”  he said to the crowd, “and the work is as important as it’s ever been.”

Network President Al Sharpton praised Biden as a straight-talking man of conviction.

“We don’t want anyone to placate us,” Sharpton said. “We don’t want anyone to say what we want to hear. We want the truth, good and bad. Don’t talk to us like we’re children. Talk to us like we’re grown folks.

“And there are those that want our votes that want to take us for granted, and show us some gold sneakers and other foolishness,” he added. “We want to know about concrete things and what have you done for me lately.”

Former president Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee challenging Biden in November, recently introduced a line of Trump athletic shoes.

The annual four-day Network convention concludes on Saturday with a session on criminal justice reform featuring Yusef Salaam, who was convicted as one of the Central Park Five teens of raping a jogger but have since been exonerated.

Salaam was elected to the city council last year.



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