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NAACP hosts Economic Empowerment Conference

by GRACE HILSCHER

Photo Courtesy of JAMYMEE DIXON

On Saturday, Nov. 2, the Iowan branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) partnered with Drake’s NAACP chapter to host presidential candidates in a Town Hall discussing Economic Empowerment for African American voters. Speakers included Secretary Julian Castro, activist Tom Steyer, and many more. Each candidate was given time for an opening address, then they were asked four questions (three by each of the Admiral Joe Sestak panelists and one from the audience), and then time for the closing address. 

“The goals of NAACP are to bridge the gap between all multi-cultural organizations, foster an effective presence and space for white allies, encourage more involvement with the Des Moines community and promote African American students and other minorities to take action in leadership roles on campus,” said Jaymee Dixon, the interim president of the NAACP Drake University Chapter. 

Dixon defines economic empowerment as providing people with resources to become economically knowledgeable, and providing equal opportunities to all people, including minority populations. Economic empowerment in action can mean helping people fix their credit, or buy homes, etc. Most of the 11 speakers all proposed their own policies and plans to help economically empower historically underserved communities. 

Booker discussed his plan to institute baby bonds, which is a system that would create savings accounts for every child in America, and the amount placed in each bond would be dependent on factors such as their family’s economic income. Booker also talked about his aggressive plan to create a tax credit to lift ten million people out of poverty. 

Senator Amy Klobuchar emphasized the need for retirement planning because the current system is not going to support everyone in the future. She acknowledged that college students may not care about retirement right now, so she also discussed her plan of what she would do the first 100 days she is in office. 

Representative John Delaney spoke on his idea of opening non-profit banks which would allow people to obtain micro-loans instead of having to rely on loan sharks. 

“We need to erase all traces of sexism, racism, xenophobia, and religious bigotry,” stated Senator Bernie Sanders at the beginning of his talk. 

Sanders discussed the importance of bringing people together to fight for freedom because when people are not economically empowered, they are not free. 

All 11 of the speakers discussed their own plans on creating economic freedom. If you are interested in learning more about what each candidate said, a recording of the event can be found on the Des Moines Register’s website.

“Voters, especially college students, should pay attention to the presidential candidates policies on economics because they will affect our future,” Dixon said. “Politicians continually make decisions about higher education costs and student loan policies. They won’t address our needs if we don’t vote. If we vote in great numbers, students will see great change.” 

There are many organizations and resources on Drake’s campus if students are interested in learning more about politics. 

”NAACP is not an organization just for African Americans and other minorities to participate in and join. No matter what your sexuality, race, or gender is you are welcome,” Dixon said. “Our GA meetings occur every second Thursday of each month. So, our next meeting will be November 14th. We are always in need of more help and love to see new members. We cannot reach people in need and help students in the Des Moines community without the help of volunteers.” 

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