Black History Teaches Us the Only Way to Win is to Get in the Fight

In November, Elizabeth Warren delivered a major speech at Clark Atlanta University, one of the oldest Historically Black Colleges in the nation, where she spoke about valuing the work of Black women and laid out her plan to put power in the hands of the people. Read key excerpts from her speech below.


Black history is American history. And American history teaches us that racism has for generations shaped every crucial aspect of our economic and political system.


Racism doesn’t just tear apart Black and Brown communities – it keeps all working people down. Racism props up the wealthy and powerful, leaving them free to take more wealth and more power for themselves.


Donald Trump didn’t create this divide and conquer system. But he wouldn’t be in power without it. After eight years of progress under President Obama, Trump’s embrace of white supremacy, white nationalism, and corruption threaten to break our democracy beyond repair.


But even in the face of racism, hatred, bigotry and corruption – Black history, American history, teaches us how to confront this moment of challenge. Black history teaches us how to stand up when we’re told to sit down. Black history teaches us how to speak out when we’re told to be silent.


Now more than ever, all of us have to embrace the lessons of Black history. The rich and powerful aren’t going to just give away their power. No, if we want power, we have to fight for it.


America was founded on principles of liberty and built on the backs of enslaved people.

It’s time for our government to face this truth.


The federal government helped create the racial divide in this country through decades of active, state-sponsored discrimination and that means the federal government has an obligation to fix it.


And I have a plan for that. In fact, I have a lot of plans for how we can begin to fix it together.

My housing plan will help families living in formerly redlined areas buy a home and start building the kind of wealth that was denied to their parents and grandparents.


My plan for a Green New Deal will put racial and environmental justice at the center of our response to climate change.


My health care plan will bring down the costs of prescription drugs and tackle the risks of Black maternal mortality that is literally killing Black women and their babies.


My public education plan will put 800 billion dollars in new federal money into our public schools and quadruple the funding for schools that teach low-income children.


My student debt cancellation plan will help close the wealth gap between Black and white families.


My higher education plan will invest 50 billion dollars in Historically Black Colleges and Universities just like Clark Atlanta.


And one more thing about those plans: They are all paid for. Not by raising taxes one penny on working families. They are all paid for by asking the wealthy and the well-connected to pay their fair share. Billionaires can cry all they want – it’s time for a wealth tax in America.


The Black-white wealth gap was created by decades of government-sponsored discrimination on housing and employment and it’s time to close it.


So, when I’m in the White House I will create a Small Business Equity fund for entrepreneurs of color.


On day one of my presidency I will take executive action to boost wages for Black and Brown women.


Think of what we can do together, think of what we can do for each other: Child care. Health care. Free College. Paychecks. Entrepreneurship. The list goes on. African Americans have gotten the short end of the stick generation after generation, but we have a chance to change that, a chance to build an America where that’s no longer true. 2020 is our chance to build a better tomorrow for every American.


Now I know what some people are thinking. That’s a lot of change. It will never happen. The fight is too hard.


But here’s how I see it. This isn’t about whether or not we start a fight. We’re already in a fight. This is about how we win.


The fight for justice will never be over… With every inch we take on the moral arc of justice, we make an extra mile possible.


I’ve been called persistent in my time – and I love it. But understand this: The persistence of generations of Black women and Black people in America... is the true story of American persistence.


This is a moment in our history when that persistence can change the lives of every American for the better. This is our moment to dream big, fight hard and win.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elizabeth grew up on the ragged edge of the middle class in Oklahoma. She became a public school teacher, a law professor, and a U.S. Senator because America invested in kids like her. Now, she’s running for President of the United States to make sure every child has the same opportunities she did to succeed. Throughout her campaign for President, Elizabeth has evoked the rich history of the American labor movement and the role of women, particularly women of color, in strengthening it. From the 1912 Lawrence textile strike and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire to the Atlanta Washerwomen Strike, Elizabeth has illustrated that when working women fight together, they win.


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Watch Elizabeth’s speech here: