President Joe Biden hosted a reception on Tuesday in honor of Black History Month, vowing not to make this year's celebration his final time hosting the event at the White House.
President Biden told attendees, "We will be back here next year," adding, "This community is the reason why I’m standing here, this community."
Prior to the event, the White House touted a number of accomplishments for the Black community, including both the lowest Black unemployment rate on record and the lowest gap between Black and White unemployment on record.
"Over the past three years, President Biden and Vice President Harris have leveraged the full force of the Federal Government to advance racial justice and equity and ensure the promise of America for all communities, including Black Americans, across the country," the White House said in a statement prior to Tuesday's event. "With the support of these efforts, Black Americans are starting new businesses, creating jobs, buying homes, and taking advantage of increased education opportunities at historic rates — contributing to a 60% increase in wealth compared to before the pandemic."
Keeping Black voters in President Biden's camp is important for him in November. In 2020, Edison Research for the National Election Pool found that 87% of Black voters supported Biden. Black voters made up 13% of the electorate in 2020.
Pew Researchexpects that Black voters will make up 14% of the total electorate in this year's presidential election due to demographic changes. A December Associated Press pollindicated that President Biden's support among Black voters could be declining. The poll found that 50% of Black voters approved of Biden, which was down from a high of 86% in 2021.
At Tuesday's event, President Biden tried to contrast himself with Republicans. It was an implied jab at several Republican-led states that have implemented bans on diversity and inclusion training for state employees.
"History matters and Black history matters," President Biden said. "I can't just choose to learn what I want to know, we should learn what we should know. We have to learn everything. The good, the bad, the truth and who we are as a nation. That's what great nations do. We're a great nation."
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