By Kai EL’Zabar (Executive Editor, Chicago Defender)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came to Chicago on her Midwest Campaign jaunt to address the Women’s International Luncheon at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition 45th Annual Convention. After the luncheon, the “Chicago Defender” sat down, up close and personal, with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to get greater insight into her vision for a better America.
“I have an old-fashioned belief that if you run for president, you should tell people what you’re going to do,” Clinton said as she revved up. “Listen, the next president of the United States can have the opportunity to select one, two, three Supreme Court justices…and we don’t want that president to be Donald Trump.”
Back stage, Clinton said that she has a personal commitment to working with the Black Press and all local press. However, she has noticed in particular the assumption of some in various parts of the country where she has traveled that it is assumed that the Black Press will show up.
“And that’s not always the case, so we want to make sure that we make the effort to reach out, and not only during the campaign, but even in the White House,” Clinton said. “I see the Black Press playing an active role in getting our message out directly to its readers, participating in the various activities such as today’s luncheon, and making sure that it has access as well as being included in the advertising buy.”
Hillary Clinton has made it clear that she will continue the initiatives that President Barack Obama implemented and work to enhance affordable health care. She credits the president with saving America from another national economic disaster, having inherited the worst financial crisis in American history since the Great Depression. And he’s done so much more than he is given credit for, she said, and she plans to continue support of those efforts.
When asked about the Black, Latino, and LGBTQ communities, Hillary Clinton said she has plans to address the issues that disproportionately affect each of those underserved communities, and you can actually go to her website and read for yourself exactly what her vision is. She provided additional insight, adding that, “we need more good jobs with rising incomes, because we’re just not seeing enough of them. There aren’t enough employment opportunities in Chicago’s underserved communities.”
It’s clear that Clinton recognizes the disparities that plague the marginalized.
“We need to make sure that there are some big, bold programs like infrastructure, like clean, renewable energy, like advanced manufacturing, that are within the reach of those people who need those jobs and [that should] have the chance to compete for them,” she proposed, noting that over the last 10 to 15 years Americans have seen a lot of the jobs in the country that are not within reach of those who live in the most distressed urban or rural areas.
Hillary Clinton said she wants to make jobs available first. Second, she wants make high quality education more accessible. She was adamant about the need for the United States to do better at preparing our youngest children to go to school and supporting them throughout their academic careers.
“There are a lot of ways we can do that. I am committed to working with communities, churches and educational systems to try to figure out how,” she said. “But parents and grandparents have to be supported in doing the most important job of raising the next generation of children, and we need to do all that we can to see to it that we do that.”
Clinton spoke about her vision to restore, “schools that people believe in, that they are passionate about, and we have that in a lot of places and I know that you don’t have that in Chicago.”
Clinton continued: “We need diversionary programs so that we’re not suspending and expelling five-, six-, seven and eight-year-old kids, who are acting out. We have a terrible disciplinary divide where kids, who are either having problems or are just acting like normal kids, are being suspended if they’re African-American or Latino and White kids doing the same thing aren’t. That starts the whole cradle to prison pipeline.”
In her effort to end the cradle-to-prison pipeline, Clinton envisions doing more to intervene in helping young children be successful, including after school support intervention programs.
“We just need a big wrap around, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ attitude about how we’re going to help our kids,” the former Secretary of State said.
For the older youth, Clinton said that she recognizes that oftentimes teenagers don’t have opportunities to direct their energy in positive directions and how easy it is for them to be misdirected, often leading to gang affiliation or some other form of violence or destructive behavior.
Clinton said that, “The policing issue is an essential, necessary step to be resolved, and then we have to figure out what more can we do to keep people safe.”
She also pointed out that she promised the parents who have lost their children to gun violence that, she would do everything she can to change the gun laws.
If she becomes the first female president of the United States, she will break the highest glass ceiling in the world and with that in mind, she would also bring a cognizant reality of setting a precedent for women in the workplace.
“We also have to raise the minimum wage.” she added. “Right now, two-thirds of minimum-wage workers are women. And that’s a poverty wage. And I have met women working two and three minimum-wage jobs just to keep their heads above water, to keep their house and to keep their kids in day care, take whatever it may be.”
Clinton said that she also wants to help more minorities and women start their own businesses.
“I want to see how we can help improve the process, to get faster credit, helping them to get the support they need, to understand to write a business plan…how to deal with the stress of being a business owner.”