From the Democratic Party of Virginia:
ICYMI: Virginia leaders, business owners, and former Deputy Secretary of Labor speak out against Trump Administration’s Broken Economic Promises to Black Communities Across the Commonwealth
With Black communities across the Commonwealth bearing the brunt of the Trump administration’s disastrous response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia Democrats held a virtual roundtable with former Deputy Labor Secretary Chris Lu, Delegates Jeion Ward (D-Hampton) and Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond), and Alexandria business owner Nicole McGrew to discuss how Trump has failed Black Virginians. The panelists slammed President Trump for his dismantling of Obama-Biden programs that supported minority businesses and for the tax scam he enacted that left Black Americans in the dust. In the wake of the news that Trump’s job losses are worse than any President before him, the group highlighted how Black Virginians have been disproportionately affected by Trump’s economic policies, with an unemployment rate of nearly twice that of White Americans. A full recording of the conversation can be streamed here.
“Even before the pandemic, the economic situation for far too many people in this country — especially for people of color — was not a good one. We’ve consistently — during the time of this administration — had an unemployment rate for African Americans that has been double that of whites, whether that’s been in good times or in bad times. Over the past six months we’ve seen all these economic inequities be exacerbated. We have seen the economic toll of this pandemic fall most heavily on communities of color, and we’ve seen the healthcare consequences of all of this…The importance of this election coming up could not be more clear,” said Chris Lu, former Deputy Secretary of Labor.
“COVID-19 has exposed so many inequities in our Black and Brown workers and how they are treated on the job. First they’re designated as essential workers, however they are some of the lowest paid workers…And most of these workers are paid at the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour — that is all….I believe that Joe Biden believes workers should not have to sacrifice their health and safety to earn a living…Even when this is all over, it’s going to take us a while, but I believe that Joe Biden is going to build us back better,” said Delegate Jeion Ward.
“There has not been a push for racial equity, and this was the time to say to the Black community and people of color [that] we know what you’re going through, we understand what you’re going through, and I would expect leadership to stand and say, we are there to support you. But it has been a failed effort. We will be dealing with this for a very long time. Even when there is a vaccine for it, the Black community will still be trying to build themselves up from the ground,” said Delegate Delores McQuinn.
“I own a store called Threadleaf in Alexandria, Virginia that opened in 2018. Prior to that I was a practicing attorney for 12 years at the DOJ where I was an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Justice Programs, and then finally I was the Deputy General Counsel in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Looking at what is going on now… is doubly horrifying because from my prior experience, I know what the government can do when it wants to step in and have a forceful response to things. And as a business owner and talking with my fellow business owners in Alexandria, just seeing how much loss and concern and worry is going on is really heartbreaking to see. It really just shows why effective leadership is so important in the White House and what happens when you don’t have it,” said Nicole McGrew, a business owner from Alexandria, Va.