By Jamyra Perry
PHILADELPHIA — U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., outlined on Friday presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s plan to not only restore the economy but to make it better.
The “Build Back Better” economic recovery plan for working families was introduced during a roundtable hosted by local Senator Sharif Street.
During the one-hour event, Booker outlined Biden’s plan to get the economy back on its feet in a post-coronavirus world and listened to Philadelphia-area Black and Hispanic business owners give their thoughts on the Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee’s plan.
Booker said Biden’s plan is more than economics and also about racial justice.
Curve Conscious clothing boutique owner Adrienne Ray and La Mega Radio CEO and President Victor Martinez joined to represent Black and Brown businesses across the country.
Earlier this week Philadelphia businesswoman Jenea Robinson was featured in social media videos for Biden’s campaign.
“We see a vacuum world leadership in this time and a colossal failure making this economic crisis worse,” Booker said. “We know that this virus is also exposing the fragility of our society where we fall short of being who we say we are as a nation of liberty and justice for all.”
The senator said communities of color are most often the hardest hit during times of economic crisis.
“We know that Black and Brown Americans are more likely to have been laid off and had their hours slashed during this crisis,” he said. “We know that Black-owned and Brown-owned businesses have been more likely to close.”
Booker said this is especially true in Pennsylvania when it comes to pandemic recovery help.
“We know that here in Pennsylvania and America, as a whole Black- and Brown-owned businesses have been far less likely to receive those PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans in general,” he said.
Adrienne Ray, owner of Curve Conscious, said that while talking about inclusion is great, the real healing starts with implementation.
“Equity Plans are great but they have to be more than words,” Ray said. “Joe Biden’s campaign has put that into action. Look at someone like Miss Sanders, I believe. She’s one of Biden’s campaign managers or organizers. He decided to hire a black woman, put her in place to help him and the staff to understand the needs of the Black and Brown communities.”
The plus-size shop owner said she likes what she has seen so far from Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden’s campaign.
“I like the plan he put forth a few days ago,” Ray said. “It really reflects the work done in the campaign, that’s what speaks loudest to me, a plan that gives folks a seat at the table.”
Martinez said the next president needs to be more inclusive.
“This election is important for us, for our mental health, for our physical health, for our peace of mind and to be able to get up tomorrow morning,” the CEO said. “We need to know that we have a president that is going to be looking out for us, protecting us, defending us and trying to look out for all of us.”
Booker stressed the importance of the upcoming election and how the election is bigger than any one political party.
“This is not about Democrat, Republican, left or right, it is a moral moment and about right or wrong, it’s about understanding the now more than ever,” he said. “We have got to unify this country, lock arms and march forward to a much better tomorrow.”
Jamyra Perry is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.