Just Economy Conference – May 4, 2021
Senator Elizabeth Warren, (D-MA), Member of the Senate’s Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee
NCRC video transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. They are lightly edited for style and clarity.
Hello to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and all of you who are here today. Thank you for inviting me to join you in this conference, I want to give a very special shout out to Jesse Van Toll to John Taylor to Bob Dickerson to Katy Crosby. Thank you all for your incredible partnership. NCRC does powerfully important work to create opportunities for people to champion fairness, and in discrimination in lending and housing and in business. And I just want to say a big thank you to all of you for all that you do. For far too long. Our government hasn’t been working for most people. Sure, it works great for the wealthy and well connected, but for everyone else, not so much. And this injustice has always targeted black and brown communities that have been systematically denied access to wealth and income. COVID-19 has also made it impossible to ignore that our health system is unequal right down to its core, people of color and indigenous people in the United States have suffered the largest burden of illness, hospitalization and death during the covid 19 crisis. These inequities are unconscionable. And right now, our nation has serious choices to make about how we recover from these economic and public health crises. We can decide to prioritize making this recovery, a racially just recovery, we have to make different choices as a nation. And it starts by reframing what a strong economy looks like, when the overall unemployment rate drops, but remains higher for families of color. That is not a strong economy, when more young white families are buying homes, but the median young black family has a total wealth of only $600. That is not a strong economy, we have to stop allowing the economic well being of people of color to be expendable. We have to start by asking questions about racial disparities in our economy, and build our solutions from there. The America we want to be is an America that lists all of us, an America that creates opportunities for all of us, the more inclusive our economy is, the more prosperity we can build together, the way I see it, we’ve got a lot of work to do to make that happen. We’ve got to root out corruption in Washington by breaking up the influence of rich folks who make their voices heard over everyone else’s. And we’ve got to make sure that billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share. We’ve got to root out the systemic racism that has long plagued our country, which has locked people of color out from economic prosperity. And we’ve got to fight for a more inclusive middle class that gives every American a fighting chance. We’ve got to fight for legislation, such as my bill, the American housing and economic mobility act, because it will help bring down housing costs for renters, and buyers. And it will help level the playing field. So working families everywhere, can find a decent place to live at a decent price. We’ve also got to fight to protect consumers. And this starts by having a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that is willing to use its available tools to ensure that consumers won’t get cheated, and financial institutions comply with anti discrimination laws. So look, none of us is in this fight alone. And that’s why I’m speaking with you today. If we all make our voices heard, we can take power away from the wealthy and well connected in Washington, and we can put it back where it belongs in the hands of the people. So to all of you who are here, ungrateful for all that you do, and all that you will do. Please keep up the great work. We’re counting on you. People across this country are counting on you.