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BET News Hosts Influential “What’s at Stake” Discussion on 2024 Election

 L-R: Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Joyce Beatty, and Rep. Jasmine Crockett COURTESY OF BET
L-R: Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Joyce Beatty, and Rep. Jasmine Crockett COURTESY OF BET

As the 2024 election rapidly approached, BET News hosted a critical conversation titled “What’s at Stake,” featuring three influential Black politicians who are deeply connected to our communities.

Moderated by esteemed journalist Ed Gordon, the discussion brought together California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ohio Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, and Texas Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett. These leaders engaged in a heartfelt and insightful dialogue about the current state of politics and its impact on Black Americans.

Gordon emphasized the importance of such discussions in fostering crucial conversations about our nation's direction.

“We have had what many believe and see as an attack on democracy,” Gordon stated. “So the idea of presenting your case as a party is of utmost importance.”

The conversation focused on four key issues that would be decisive in the upcoming election: the economy, reproductive rights, the future of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies, and gun violence.

The Economy

Starting with the economy, the discussion centered on investments in Black communities by past and present White House administrations. Congresswoman Crockett highlighted the Biden administration's student loan debt relief plan, noting the president's approval of the cancellation of $9 billion in student loan debt for more than 100,000 qualified Americans. Crockett pointed out that this historic loan forgiveness plan had significantly benefited Black Americans by decreasing their debt-to-income ratio, enabling them to qualify for home loans and build generational wealth.

Reproductive Rights

The attendees then transitioned to a conversation about reproductive rights, an issue that proved to be extremely decisive during the 2022 midterm elections. As reported by Politico, abortion continued to be a central issue, especially in red-leaning or battleground states. The congresswomen expressed concern about the potential re-election of former president Donald Trump in 2024, implying that his return to office had the potential to bring about a federal abortion ban. They stressed the importance of safeguarding reproductive rights and ensuring that women's autonomy over their bodies remained protected.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Policies

The discussion then turned to another critical topic: the future of DEI policies. Congresswoman Crockett emphasized that higher education institutions were targets for DEI threats, citing her experience with Texas’ predominantly white institutions (PWIs).

“They rely upon Black folk to play football and make sure their program is amazing, basketball, and they’re all good with that,” Crockett said. “But when it comes to making sure that they are admitting diverse students and making sure that they have their proper place, or even making sure that the administration is reflective of the student body, they don’t want that.”

Gun Violence

The discussion concluded with a focus on gun violence, particularly the rising crime rates in Black communities. The congresswomen brought attention to the lack of stringent gun control laws and highlighted legislative efforts by Democrats to restrict gun access. However, Representative Beatty pointed out that Republican officials had significantly thwarted these efforts, remarking that she “put that blood on their hands.” The congresswomen emphasized the need for comprehensive gun reform to protect our communities and reduce violence.

Voter Engagement and Mobilization

As the 2024 presidential election approached, many of us felt disheartened and believed neither candidate had our best interests at heart. One voter interviewed for the special stated, “I don’t feel either of them represent what I’m looking for.”

Addressing this sentiment, Congresswoman Waters urged us to educate ourselves on government processes, from local to federal elections. Representative Beatty also encouraged an “old school” approach, promoting activism and the mobilization of Black voters.

“We need to do what we’ve done for generations – marching, making signs, and getting people excited,” Beatty told BET News. “But we also have a new generation of individuals that we need to mobilize.”

“This is not the time to be silent, it’s time to inspire and educate,” Beatty added, underscoring the urgency of political engagement and advocacy.

The “What’s at Stake” discussion on BET News highlighted the pressing issues facing Black Americans and underscored the importance of political engagement as we approached a critical election. It was a call to action for all of us to stay informed, get involved, and make our voices heard.

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