Black voters in Racine meet with Biden and weigh in on issues

President Joe Biden made a campaign stop at the Dr. John Bryant Community Center, during his visit to Racine on Wednesday to connect with Black voters.

Election experts say Black voters will be crucial in elections, including in Wisconsin, which was won by former President Donald Trump in 2016 and by Biden in 2020.

Both candidates flipped the state by just 20,000 votes; experts believe that black participation was a key factor in both races.

A group of elected officials, pastors, students and other community leaders from the Racine and Kenosha area met with the president during his visit.

Biden meets with black voters in Racine.

Event participant

Biden meets black voters in Racine

TMJ4 reporter Tahleel Mohieldin spoke with black voters who were inside the community center for his visit and with neighborhood neighbors watching from outside.

Joe Pipes is pastor of Greater St. Luke Baptist Church in Racine and a Biden supporter. After Wednesday’s meeting with the president, he said he felt Biden viewed Black voters as more than just numbers.

“President Biden has really shown us that he is human,” Pipes said. “He felt what we feel. It tries to connect with the story without really selling out. We saw his humanity and it was incredible.

Kenosha District 14 Alderman Kenny Harper said he was able to speak briefly with the president. He said that in the next election he would focus on the housing shortage and the development of entrepreneurship.

“It was very nice to be able to have a frank conversation with the president and tell him our point of view,” Harper said. “He definitely appealed to black voters. The fact is that as a black community we need to become more involved in all aspects and we need to realize the power of our vote.

Other black voters who live in the area stood outside and watched the presidential motorcade pass through their neighborhood.

Racine resident and military veteran Merdis Husdon was among them. She said she would vote for Biden in November, but was unhappy with how he is handling Gaza.

“The number of people dying just doesn’t make sense,” she said. “This is the only issue that I think could deter people from voting for Biden. He needs to fix it immediately.”

She does, however, support the president’s position on abortion and the state of the economy. Hudson also said she thinks Biden is doing the best he can with Black voters, but she would like to see more emphasis on education through grassroots organizations.

Others gathered outside the Bryant Community Center took a stronger stance against Biden. A group of a dozen pro-Palestinian protesters were there to criticize Biden’s support for Israel.

Among that group was Kenosha resident Justin Blake, whose nephew Jacob Blake was shot and killed by police in 2020. Justin said fear of a Trump presidency was not enough to sway his vote and that he would vote for third-party candidate Cornell West. , whatever his chances.

“We should have another option,” he said. “If it takes a bump over the head for this country to stand up and soar, then so be it.”

He also said that in addition to the president’s handling of Gaza, he was unhappy with what he called a lack of follow-through on police brutality following the death of George Floyd.

“We convinced them that President Biden was for the African American community and that he was going to bring something substantial to our community for once,” Justin said of his campaign efforts in 2020. “We been played.”

Many of those who met with Biden on Wednesday said these issues did not rest solely on the president’s shoulders and that they were looking at the bigger picture.

They highlighted its impact on health care for seniors, infrastructure investments in minority communities and support for minority-owned businesses.

Historically, Racine County has been a critical location. All but five of the 33 winning presidential candidates have worn it. Trump is one of five who lost Racine County but won the election.

Campaign officials said the Biden-Harris team will launch a new $14 million paid media investment throughout May in battleground states including Wisconsin.

They said this includes seven-figure investments in African American, Hispanic and AAPI media, and follows the largest and first investment in Black media in a re-election campaign to date.

Wednesday marked Biden’s fourth trip to Wisconsin in 2024 alone. Before his visit to the Bryant Community Center, Biden made remarks at Gateway Technical College supporting Microsoft’s plans to invest $3.3 billion to build a new artificial intelligence facility in Mount Pleasant.

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