Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will announce on Sunday his presidential campaign’s plan aimed at bolstering economic opportunity for black Americans, promising to triple their income over the next decade, but stopping short of promising reparations.
The announcement comes as the billionaire continues to face questions about the controversial “stop-and-frisk” police tactic he endorsed as mayor, and as he seeks to build support among African-Americans, a key voting bloc in the Democratic primary.
Bloomberg’s “Greenwood Initiative” plan is named after the Greenwood District, otherwise known as “Black Wall Street,” a Tulsa neighborhood that was once considered one of the most economically prosperous black communities in the U.S. The neighborhood was the center of a deadly two-day attack by a white mob during the 1920s. Ninety-nine years later, Bloomberg will announce his plan in the same district.
“For hundreds of years, America systematically stole black lives, black freedom and black labor,” Bloomberg will say, according to his prepared remarks. “And the impact of that theft over a period of centuries has meant an enormous loss of wealth for individuals and families, across generations — a kind of compound interest in reverse. Well, it’s past time to say, ‘Enough’ — and to damn well do something about it.”
New York social activist and black leader Geoffrey Canada will be present in the audience and is expected to endorse Bloomberg later Sunday evening.
Bloomberg, one of the richest men in the world, with a media empire and $50 billion estimated net worth, attributed some of his gains to the privileges that come with being a white man in America.
“I also know that my story might have turned out very differently if I had been black, and that more black Americans of my generation would have ended up with far more wealth, had they been white.”
Later in the speech, he is expected to add: “I didn’t know it at the time, but when my parents moved to the house I grew up in, the owners wouldn’t sell to them. They didn’t want a Jewish family in the neighborhood. Read more