On Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen participated in a virtual roundtable with Black business leaders from around the country to discuss how the Biden administration’s Rescue Plan could help Black small business owners recover from the financial devastation they’ve endured since the pandemic began in March.
Expressing concern about the future of Black business, the group said the new COVID-19 federal relief package must better serve Black-owned businesses, CNN reported.
In response, Harris called on Black business leaders to help spread the word that it is critical for Black Americans to take the Covid-19 vaccine in order to remedy the economic damage caused by the pandemic.
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“If we’re going to build back up our economy, we’ve gotta get control of this,” Harris said, referring to the virus. “People have within their power the ability to save their lives, the lives of their family members, their community — but they’ve gotta get vaccinated.”
During the meeting, Harris explained how the administration’s would set aside $400 billion for vaccine distribution, which is already being used to set up vaccine distributions centers in communities like her Oakland, California, hometown. She added that the centers should be up and running by February 15.
Last year, a major challenge for Black small business owners applying for PPP was navigating the lengthy application process. Harris said that this time around, Biden’s team will have a team of trained “navigators” to help PPP applicants. “It is one of our highest priorities to fix the assistance piece of the PPP program,” she said.
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US Black Chambers of Commerce President Ron Busby is hopeful that there will be accountability between the new administration and Black Americans, who played a huge role in helping Biden win the presidency.
“In order for there to be a great America, there must be a great Black America,” Busby said. “In order for there to be a great Black America, there must be great Black businesses.”
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