Calling For A Black Men’s Agenda


Voting machines are ready during the Georgia presidential primary elections in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 12, 2024. | Source: ELIJAH NOUVELAGE / Getty

As we barrel towards Father’s Day weekend, I am thankful.


I’m thankful for my father and two brothers whose examples not only laid the foundation not only for the man I am today, but also the man I hope to become, as I strive to be better each day than I was the day before.

I’m thankful for all the Black men out there, from the fathers, grandfathers, barbers, uncles and older brothers to the pastors, teachers, coaches and more who stand in the gap every day to remind us that we are more than our circumstances suggest and the future is ours if we’re willing to work for it. I am thankful for those who show us what real leadership looks like and the strides we can make as a people and a nation dedicated to our promise to a more perfect union.

But before I can talk about that, I have to address the elephant in the room.

On Thursday, May 30, a jury of his peers found former President Donald J. Trump guilty of 34 felony counts of Falsification of Business Records in the First Degree.

Let me repeat that. Donald Trump is now a felon. He can’t own a firearm. He can’t travel abroad to countries like England or Canada. In most states, he can’t vote. A felon can’t even get a job working for the federal government. But now the MAGA Republicans want a felon running it.

Of course, this has even more implications as the same folks who told us to “respect the verdict” when George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin, Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of killing Philando Castile and Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of killing two Black Lives Matter protesters and injuring a third when one of their own is actually found guilty.

But we’ll talk about all of that later.

In a country where one in every three Black men spend at least part of their lives in prison, the impact of Black fathers and father figures, Black men (generally) as a whole, cannot be overstated. Of course, we’ve talked at length about how that’s true politically and how Black men are positioned to be the swing vote in the coming election as well as all elections to come. But too often we forget to talk about the practical importance of Black men as our North Star, role models and leaders in our families and community as a whole.

Now, before we go any further, I want to be clear. There’s no way to capture the needs, fears, concerns and aspirations of every Black man in America in a singular voice. That would be about as insulting as pretending you care about our issues because you brought a couple of rappers to the stage.

But there are some general principles most of us would agree are important. There are some specific issues that most of us would agree should be addressed and there are specific steps most of us would agree can, should and must be taken.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Black men have issues. Now it’s time to reflect on the progress we’ve seen over the past few years and project our future, creating a true Black Men’s Agenda that takes real issues and real action to chart a real roadmap to the future.


Do you remember what life was like when Joe Biden took office becoming our nation’s 46th President on January 20, 2021? Not only were we reeling from the worst pandemic since 1918, a pestilence for which we were completely unprepared as Donald Trump focused more on promoting conspiracy theories than actually saving American lives. We were in an economic freefall and it felt like the whole world was crumbling around us.

Then President Biden, Vice President Harris got to work passing the $1.6 trillion American Rescue Plan which not only stepped up where Trump had failed providing life-saving resources to our hospitals and healthcare providers as well as our communities. It secured new funding for our schools, provided grants to keep small businesses afloat, cut child poverty in half by expanding the child tax credit and more. It sent relief checks directly to the American people.

You remember that $1,400 check your family got in the mail a couple years ago? It sure helped didn’t it? Thank you, President Biden.

That was just the beginning.

President Biden delivered on student debt relief signing more than two dozen executive actions to deliver  $146 billion in student debt relief for 4 million Americans. He cut undergraduate loan payments in half and helped drop monthly payments for millions of borrowers down to $0.

President Biden passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investing $1.2 trillion to repair our roads, bridges and more, including $15 billion to replace lead water lines in poor and minority communities across America.

He secured over $16 billion for our Historically Black Colleges and Universities, protected schools in high-poverty districts from disastrous funding cuts, launched new efforts to aggressively combat housing discrimination and protected Black-owned home values, and expanded high-speed internet across the nation.

In fact, right now folks living in disinvested communities can get high-speed internet for just $30 a month. Thank you, President Biden.

He’s led the charge on justice reform, banning chokeholds and “no knock” warrants from federal law enforcement, creating a national database to track law enforcement misconduct and passing the Emmett Till Antilynching Act finally making lynching a federal crime for the first time in history.  President Biden not only pardoned all federal offenses for simple marijuana possession, he called on Governors in every state to do the same and has successfully pushed broader decriminalization and rescheduling of marijuana under federal law.

Thanks to President Biden, Black unemployment is at a record low and more Black-owned business have started than we’ve seen in a generation, especially with President Biden helping secure $100 billion in federal contracts for small disadvantaged and Black-owned businesses.

President Biden helped protect our families from violent crime by passing the first major gun safety law in 30 years. He helped protect us from more powerful storms and floods brought on by climate change with https://vitalsigns.edf.org/story/inflation-reduction-act-victory-climate-heres-what-comes-next $369 billion to help cut climate pollution in half by 2030. He expanded veterans healthcare, capped the cost of insulin and pushed for https://apnews.com/article/biden-child-care-caregivers-executive-order-7e84b3a24ed80dc169823687456cd663 $425 billion to make childcare more affordable and improve long-term care for senior citizens.

Oh, yeah, he also built the most diverse presidential administration in our nation’s history, appointed more people of color to be federal judges than any other president, appointed more Black women to the federal bench than all previous presidents combined, awarded Congressman Jim Clyburn the Presidential Medal of Freedom, put the first Black woman on the United State Supreme Court and helped elect the first African-American and the first woman to serve as Vice President, Kamala Harris.


Reflection shows us that we’ve made real progress with the Biden/Harris Administration. For example, more Black Americans have health insurance than ever before, the federal government is blazing new trails for diversity, equity and inclusion that drives the MAGA crowd crazy and recently President Biden laid out a new plan that will expand that student debt relief to more than 30 million Americans.

So step one in any path forward has to be keeping the progress we’ve made.

But elections aren’t just about what has been done. They’re about what will be done, so step two has to look beyond where we are to where we could be…where we should be…to develop a true Black Men’s Agenda.

Yes, we fought to protect Obamacare. But what if we expanded it?

Yes, we increased investment in Black-owned businesses. But what if we doubled it?

Imagine if we close the school to prison pipeline and the racial income gap at once and forever. Imagine if we empowered our neighborhoods with new investments and new opportunities. What if we protected our families from gun violence with universal background checks and passed new laws that kept guns out of schools once and for all? Imagine if we raised the minimum wage and passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the most comprehensive measure to strengthen voting rights since 1965.

Again, I don’t pretend to speak for all Black men, but this is a start. More importantly is a vision for how to create a Black Men’s Agenda that begins living up to no our potential, but America’s.

We need a Black Men’s Agenda and we must elect leaders up and down the ballot who will stand in the gap for us and see it done.

Antjuan Seawright (@antjuansea) is a Democratic political strategist, founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy LLC, a CBS News political contributor, and a senior visiting fellow at Third Way.


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