Jun 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden unveils plans to combat racial wealth gap on anniversary of Tulsa massacre


Photo: Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new actions on Tuesday aimed at closing the racial wealth gap as he commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Driving the news: Biden will unveil the policies during a visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a white mob destroyed America's wealthiest Black neighborhood in 1921 in what is considered to be the single worst episode of racial violence in U.S. history.

  • The president will tour the Greenwood Cultural Center with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, White House domestic policy czar Susan Rice, and public engagement director Cedric Richmond.
  • Biden will deliver remarks commemorating the 100th anniversary of the massacre and announcing the new policies at 4:15 p.m. ET.

Details: The initiatives will target homeownership and small business ownership, which the White House called "two key wealth-creators" for communities of color.

  • "Because disparities in wealth compound like an interest rate, the disinvestment in Black families in Tulsa and across the country throughout our history is still felt sharply today," the White House said in a statement.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will publish two new rules that will "align federal enforcement practice" with the Fair Housing Act, and provide a legal framework for HUD to require public and private entities "to rethink established practices that contribute to or perpetuate inequities."

  • Biden will also direct HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge to lead an interagency effort to address inequities in housing appraisals, using "potential enforcement under fair housing laws, regulatory action, and development of standards and guidance."

The administration said it will increase the share of federal contracts directed to small disadvantaged businesses by 50% by 2026, seeking to lower barriers to entry and allow more "traditionally-underserved entrepreneurs to compete."

  • The White House says the investments will result in an additional $100 billion going to these businesses in 5 years.

Biden will also announce new details on the $10 billion community revitalization fund included in his infrastructure proposal.

  • The fund will target communities "that suffer from the effects of persistent poverty, historic economic disinvestment, and ongoing displacement of longtime residents," the White House said.
  • Another proposal will "support the planning, removal, or retrofitting of existing transportation infrastructure that creates a barrier to community connectivity."

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