Less than two months before Election Day, U.S. President Donald Trump is making efforts to woo Black voters with what he calls the Black Economic Empowerment “Platinum Plan,” which he unveiled on Friday during a campaign event in Atlanta.
The Plan includes prosecuting the Ku Klux Klan and Antifa as terrorist organizations, making lynching a national hate crime, and establishing Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of U.S. slavery, as a federal holiday. The Plan will also invest $500 billion in Black communities, create more jobs, increase access to capital in Black communities, lower the cost of healthcare, support Black-owned businesses, among others.
Speaking during the event at the majority-Black city of Atlanta, Trump promised to always “put Americans first and that includes very, very importantly Black Americans.”
An earlier statement released by Paris Dennard, senior communications advisor for Black media affairs, said: “President Trump’s return to Atlanta, GA will lay out his second term vision for Black America. Capitalizing off a successful first term of unprecedented accomplishments for the Black community, the Black Economic Empowerment-Platinum Plan is a gamechanger for Black Americans and will lead to historic opportunities, security, prosperity and fairness for all Black Americans.”
“President Trump made the Black community a priority in his 4 years in office while Joe Biden spent 47 years creating and supporting policies that destroyed Black families, communities and generational wealth,” the statement said.
Trump won 8% of the Black vote in 2016 and it’s not clear if he is succeeding with his campaign to win over Black voters. Current polls show a large majority of Black voters support Trump’s rival, Joe Biden. What is more, many Black voters believe Trump is racist.
At the moment, it is not known how the president intends to fulfill his recent promises outlined in the Platinum Plan, as more detailed information on the Plan are yet to be released.
In his stance on Juneteenth, only Congress has the power to create a federal holiday though Trump could help bring into being a measure for lawmakers to pass.
Throughout the years, U.S. presidents including Barack Obama and Trump have made statements in honor of Juneteenth, with the Senate even passing a resolution in 2018 honoring the day. But efforts to make Juneteenth a federal holiday have not been able to get the needed support in Congress. This June, calls to make Juneteenth a federal holiday increased amid Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.
Also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day in the United States, Juneteenth celebrates the freedom of some 250,000 enslaved people in Texas in 1865. Although it is not the day slavery legally ended, it is the oldest known celebration honoring the end of slavery in the United States.
In 1980, Texas became the first state to adopt Juneteenth as a state holiday. Currently, the day is officially recognized in all but three states: Hawaii, North Dakota and South Dakota.