Michael Bloomberg put his money where his apology is, and he picked Tulsa, Okla., to place his bold wager.
The Democratic presidential candidate on Sunday announced a five-year plan to invest $70 billion into the 100 most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the country, and to create a Neighborhood Equity and Opportunity Office in the White House to oversee the plan.
disadvantaged from growth and opportunity.”
The goal, Bloomberg said, according to the New York Daily News, was “to tackle the neighborhood conditions that perpetuate poverty and exclude the historically
The site of this announcement was clearly no coincidence. Tulsa is the site of the infamous 1921 race riots that resulted in the deaths of some 300 Black people at the hands of whites, and the destruction of “Black Wall Street.’’ It was a tragedy that the former New York City mayor admitted he, like many, had never heard of until recently.
The timing was on-point as well: the weekend of the Martin Luther King holiday.
Bloomberg used the site of his speech as a jumping-off point for his plan, which would include the creation of 1 million new Black homeowners and 100,000 new Black-owned businesses, through several economic incentives and enforcing existing legislation.
“The exploitation worked exactly as it was designed to — slavery, sharecropping, Jim Crow, segregation and redlining,” he said. “For hundreds of years, America systematically stole Black lives, Black freedom and Black labor.
“Well, it’s past time to say enough — and to damn well do something about it.”
How convincing Bloomberg’s plan is to potential Black supporters, though, remains to be seen. Since joining the race in November, he has had to answer for his role in New York’s stop-and-frisk policing policy, and his answers have hardly been embraced by Black New Yorkers who saw and lived the results for years.
Bloomberg may have been hinting at that debt he owed Black communities when he said Sunday: “The crimes against black Americans still echo across the centuries, and no law can wipe that slate clean. Not here in Tulsa, or anywhere else. But I believe that this is a country where anything is possible. And I believe that we have the power to build a future where color and capital are no longer related.”
Is Bloomberg’s plan enough to sway the voters damaged the most by his previous policies? Do you, Grio fam, believe in either his plan or his apologies, or both? You can cast your own vote here.