“The Douglass Plan” named after abolitionist Frederick Douglass seeks wide structural changes in public policy for a number of racial ills as well as multi-pronged, thought out solutions.
“You aren’t free if your zip code, name, and race determine your quality of life and health outcomes or employment opportunities. You aren’t free if you’re disproportionately policed, surveilled, and locked up. You aren’t free if the schools you attend function as a pipeline to prison. Freedom means freedom from the government treating anyone differently on the basis of race, and it also means the freedom to seek out the same opportunities as all Americans, from a fair and just starting point.”
The South Bend, Indiana, mayor first announced the plan in an op-ed for the Charleston Chronicle last month.
On his website, Buttigieg says, “The decisions we make in the next four years will determine America’s path for the next forty. And a great deal of the progress we make–on everything from increasing economic freedom to confronting climate disruption–will depend on whether we tackle racial inequality in our lifetime. For all our country’s forward movement, Black people in America are still disproportionately excluded from systems of social protection, economic uplift, and representative democracy while facing shorter lifespans, lower educational attainment,and dramatic overcriminalization and incarceration compared to their white counterparts.”
This is why Mayor Pete Buttigieg is proposing The Douglass Plan, a comprehensive and intentional dismantling of racist structures and systems combined with an equally intentional and affirmative investment of unprecedented scale in the freedom and self-determination of Black Americans.
This includes reforming broken criminal justice and health systems, strengthening access to credit and injecting capital into the Black community, and taking bold steps toward fulfilling long-broken promises of true equity.
According to CNN, “In the new details of the plan, Buttigieg has proposed: increasing federal funding for historically black colleges and universities, increasing investments in minority-held depositories and mandating 25% of government contracts go to minority owned businesses. The plan would also seek to reduce incarceration by 50% at the state and federal level and abolish private federal prisons, per a release from the Buttigieg campaign.The plan also wants to address ‘the underrepresentation of Black Americans in the health workforce and train our existing health workforce to combat bias — especially racial bias — when treating patients,’ hitting a topic Buttigieg has touched on while stumping on the campaign trail.”
The New York Times reports that Buttigieg faces a difficult path to the Democratic presidential nomination if he can’t gain traction with Black voters. The plan comes while Buttigieg deals with a racially sensitive test of leadership as mayor of South Bend, Ind.
The plan proposes massive changes to capitol punishment and marijuana laws. Buttgieg also wants to limit use of solitary confinement in prisons and eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing.
The plan also says he will be tightening the legal standard for police to use deadly force; creating a federal database of officers fired from police departments; and persuading states to disclose more data on law enforcment to see a correlation with race.
Chike Aguh of the Pete for America campaign explains what makes the plan powerful below.