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Pete recognizes that the progress we make–on everything from increasing economic freedom to confronting climate disruption–will depend on whether we tackle racial inequality in our lifetime. Earlier this year, he proposed the Douglass Plan, a comprehensive platform to intentionally dismantle racist structures and systems and invest, at an unprecedented scale, in the freedom and self-determination of Black Americans. As part of this plan, Pete will:

  • Triple the number of Black entrepreneurs within 10 years and help
    low-income students start businesses 
  • Make tuition at public colleges free for lower-income students; cancel the debts of borrowers in low-quality, for-profit programs
  • Increase funding for HBCUs by $50 billion
  • Pass the Community Homestead Act to grant land and homes to residents of formerly redlined neighborhoods
  • Create Health Equity Zones to solve communities’ most pressing health disparities
  • Reduce incarceration nationwide by 50% by incentivizing states to reform; eliminating incarceration for addiction, mental illness, and poverty; and reducing sentences 
  • Hold police accountable and raise the legal standard for lethal force
  • Increase environmental protections for communities of color
  • End voter suppression and expand voting access

Learn more about Pete’s commitment to fulfilling our long-broken promises of true equity

Q: What actions has Pete taken to improve life for Black residents in South Bend?

Pete has routinely been the first Mayor in South Bend history to shed light on opportunity gaps and address them by promoting equity and economic inclusion in order to improve the experiences of Black residents in South Bend. As a result, South Bend was recognized in 2018 as one of five high-performing “race-informed cities” that are “intentionally addressing racial disparities in policy and practice and constantly work[ing] to close gaps” by Governing Magazine’s National Survey of American Cities.

During Pete’s tenure as mayor, he worked to expand economic opportunity for all residents in South Bend and reverse a decades-long trend of decline in the city. Since Pete took office, the unemployment rate for Black residents has declined by nearly 70% - greater than the overall unemployment rate decline in South Bend and greater than the decline in unemployment for Black residents across the state and nation, according to one-year census estimates. The poverty rate for Black residents in South Bend also declined by nearly 40% since Pete took office.

Q: What has Pete done to address racial inequities in South Bend?

As Mayor, Pete commissioned the first study on the racial wealth divide in South Bend to better quantify economic disadvantages, created the city’s first Office of Diversity and Inclusion in South Bend and he brought My Brother’s Keeper initiative to South Bend, which has positively impacted 14,000 people in South Bend, 87% of whom are boys and young men of color.

Under Pete’s leadership, the city also commissioned its first study to determine how the city of South Bend can better award city contracts to women-owned and minority-owned businesses, and his administration just passed reforms to improve the city’s procurement process as a result of the study in order to actively spur wealth generation for communities of color.

Pete also partnered with a non-profit to open a training center for small business owners in South Bend to support Black entrepreneurs, and he implemented Ban the Box in South Bend (before it was overridden by state law) to help eliminate barriers to employment for ex-offenders.

Q: What has Pete done on police reform in South Bend?

Pete required all police officers to take civil rights, implicit bias, and diversity trainings, and he installed a majority-minority civilian police board to oversee all decisions involving police discipline and provide civilian oversight of the police. Pete also upgraded cameras on patrol cars and outfitted every police officer in the patrol division with body cameras. Pete also reworked police department protocol to update the use-of-force policy and emphasize community-oriented policing, which helps officers improve their relationships with the communities they serve.

Pete has also made South Bend a leader in police transparency by launching an online portal to allow the public to view data on use-of-force complaints, recruitment efforts, police department policies and legal records on specific cases -- giving residents tools to hold police accountable.