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. Afterward, 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 having actually saved America from another depression worse than that of 1929, 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, and she plans to continue support of those efforts of great concern.
When asked about those underserved communities like the Black, Brown, LBGT, etc., Hillary Clinton said she has plans to address the issues that pertain to each, and you can actually go to her website and read for yourself exactly what her vision is. However, she provided insight and began, “First of all 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.
She proposes, “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 have to be given the chance to compete for them,” she said noting what we have seen in the last 10 to 15 years is that a lot of the jobs in the country are not within reach of those who live in the most distressed urban or rural areas.
So Hillary Clinton says she wants to make jobs available first. Second, education. She is adamant that we have to do better at preparing our youngest children to go to school and support them throughout so they will be successful.
Clinton says, “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.” But it’s clear that she gets the comprehension thread that makes it all work. She says, “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 to her vision to re-create “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.”
She expressed in detail, “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 being suspended if they’re African-American or Latino and white kids doing the same thing aren’t.”
She paused and continued, “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 the little kids be successful, which would include 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.”
For the older youth, she recognizes that there is nothing for teenagers to direct their energies and how easy it is for them to be misdirected, often leading to gang affiliation or some other form of violence of destructive behavior.
She reminds us, “There are no organized activities; there’s nothing that breaks the attraction of a gang, where their thinking is at least I’m on a team if they’re in a gang as opposed to having options to choose from like being on a team (sports, academic, etc.,) that may advance their life rather than end their life.”
She then segued to comment on Chicago: “I am really confused as to why Chicago has so much more violence year after year. And we have to factor that into federal programs. Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina has an excellent program that he calls 10, 20, 30, where 10 percent of federal money would go to 20 percent of the communities that have had 30 years of poverty. We have to focus on these places and it can’t be one size fits all. What may work in Chicago may not necessarily work in Miami or New Orleans,” but she’s determined that it’s necessary to figure out what does work and take action.
As president, she says “I want more creativity, I want more people at the table, I want more community input, but I want to figure out how to stop the killing. I just don’t understand it. I look at New York, Los Angeles and they have dropped their numbers way down. They have poor places. I live in New York so I know firsthand. So what is going on here, what is happening here? It’s police? It’s guns? What it is it?”
“I have to confess I am heartbroken over the level of violence in Chicago. . . I worry a lot about this. I was born in Chicago.”
And what will she do about the overpolicing in Black communities and the high level of violence? Clinton says there are several problems that have to be addressed. “I am interested in making sure that we have policing that is respectful and effective; because what I’ve heard from talking to a lot of people, elected officials, business people, activists here is that you don’t have the policing you need and you’re not able to feel protected and respected. I feel that is what our goal has to be.”
Finally she concludes, “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.”
In relation to the gun issue and the associated violence Hillary Clinton says very passionately, “It’s a civil rights issue and I will do everything I can: legislation, regulation, litigation because I think we have veered off the track. We are intimidated by, controlled by and directed by the gun lobby in Washington. Members of Congress are scared to death, governors and state legislatures are scared to death, and why? Because the gun lobby represents a dedicated focused group of voters. And they will make anybody who doesn’t vote with them pay the price.”
However, she noted that yet the vast majority of people want these changes, so we’ve got to start acting like they are a voting issue to us.
She also pointed out that she promised the parents who have lost their children to gun violence that, “I will do everything I can to change the gun laws. I will work continuously to do so.”
If she becomes the first female president of the United States, she will break the highest ceiling and with that in mind, she would bring a cognizant reality of setting a precedent for women in the workplace.
Her first consideration is the cost of child care, as she recognizes that it is one of the biggest problems facing women. Clinton says, “I have put forth a plan where no family has to pay more than 10 percent of their income towards child support. Right now a worker paid minimum wage depending on where they live spends 20 to 40 percent of their meager income.”
So child care is going to be a big push. She says, “I want paid sick days, paid vacation days, paid family leave,” she continued, “I really want to talk about and act on getting families of today the support they need, as opposed to having our policies act if as we’re still in the 1950s.
“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, to keep their kids in day care, take whatever it may be.”
And not to forget, she said, “Also we have to keep pushing equal pay. It’s not real. And I don’t care what the Republicans and Donald Trump say, it is a big problem still.”
Further, Clinton says that she wants to see how to assist minorities and women in starting their own businesses. But women are the fastest creators of business startups, “so 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.
“I’m very excited about that. My Dad was a small-business owner. I want to help, women particularly, working women, young people, help everybody get ahead. So I have a whole collection of programs addressing those concerns.”