As the Supreme Court debates whether or not to approve President Joe Biden's student debt relief program, several Black-led civil rights organizations are demanding the administration follow through on its promises.
On Tuesday, advocates from the NAACP, Lawyer’s Committee on Civil Rights, and Student Borrower Protection Center marched outside the White House with chants calling to “end student loan debt now!” The rally came the day after Juneteenth, the day marking the end of chattel slavery in the United States, which Biden first declared it a federal holiday in 2021.
“Black borrowers are disproportionately impacted by student loan debt and with payments starting back potentially in October, we need to make it very clear that regardless of what happens with this SCOTUS decision, we have to make sure student debt cancellation happens because the Black voters, Black borrowers are the ones who are going to benefit the most,” Satra Taylor, director of higher education and workforce policy at Young Invincibles, said via The Hill.
Biden announced a plan in August to cancel up to $10,000 in federal loan debt, with $20,000 eliminated for recipients of Pell Grants. Around 60 percent of Pell Grant recipients are Black students.
According to a report from PBS NewsHour, Black Americans hold hold the most debt out of all racial groups. Student loan borrowers who are Black are 50 times as likely to have loans become debt as their White counterparts.
“Student debt is important because this is an intersectional crisis — not an issue, a crisis,” added Dorien Rogers, president of the Maryland Youth & College Division. “As we talk about Juneteenth, we’re talking about the ancestors who laid the foundation not just for the pillars of our democracy but the pillars of a people that have been oppressed for so long."
He continued: “And so as we work to ensure the institutional aspects of student debt is canceled we need to ensure we’re matching actions to our words so future generations can own homes, they can own assets and most importantly they can have generational wealth to obtain the mission and value of this great nation.”