Pete Buttigieg on Civil Rights

Democratic Presidential Challenger; IN Mayor


Transportation decisions have hurt minority neighborhoods

[On transit equity]: "Black and brown neighborhoods have been disproportionately divided by highway projects or left isolated by the lack of adequate transit and transportation resources," wrote Buttigieg, who is President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the federal Department of Transportation. "In the Biden-Harris administration, we will make righting these wrongs an imperative," the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor wrote.
Source: CNN Business on 2021 DOT Biden Administration , Dec 22, 2020

Fight racial, economic injustice with transportation policy

Pete Buttigieg promised to fight racial, economic, and environmental injustice as nominee to lead the Department of Transportation (DOT). During his speech, he warned there was a dark side to the DOT. "At its worst, misguided policies and missed opportunities can reinforce racial, economic, and environmental injustice, dividing or isolating neighborhoods," he said, promising to work to deliver "equity" and "empower everyone to thrive."
Source: Breitbart blog on Biden Cabinet, "Racial Injustice" , Dec 16, 2020

OpEd: Appointed to Cabinet solely because he's gay

[Opinion]: Buttigieg's homosexuality might be Biden's sole reason for picking him. "His expected nomination is a historic moment for LGBTQ Americans. Advocacy groups had been pressuring the Biden transition to make history and nominate an LGBTQ American to a top Cabinet post," CNN reported. Apparently selecting LGBTQ individuals to run his administration will one of Biden's top priorities. His website's promises and policy proposals for the "LGBTQ community" runs past 8,000 words.
Source: The New American OpEd on Biden Cabinet , Dec 16, 2020

Federal funding should never be used to discriminate

I believe that federal funding should never be used to discriminate. It is a basic principle. I feel this way both as a citizen and as a person of faith. Of course, it is so important to the fabric of this country that people of every religion and of no religion can practice their faith to the best of their conscience. We respect--and I will fiercely defend--religious liberty, but not past the point where it is being invoked as an excuse to harm other people through this kind of discrimination.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 with Don Lemon , Feb 24, 2020

Campaign co-chaired by member of Congressional Black Caucus

The black voters who know me best are supporting me. It's why I have the most support in South Bend. Nationally, I am proud that my campaign is co-chaired by a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and to have support right here in Iowa from some of the most recognizable black elected leaders, from Mayor Hart of Waterloo to former Representative Berry in Black Hawk County. Now, the biggest mistake we could make is to take black votes for granted. I never will.
Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

Look at reparations to mend generational theft of racism

Q: You said last month that the U.S. owes compensation to children separated from their families at the Southern border. Should the US also compensate descendants of enslaved people? Do you support reparations for African Americans?

Pete Buttigieg: I support H.R. 40 which is the bill that has been proposed in Congress to establish a commission to look at reparations, but we shouldn't wait for that commission to do its work to do things that are reparative. Remember we're not talking about a gift to anybody. We're talking about mending what was broken. We're talking about the generational theft of the wealth of generations of African Americans. And just crossing out our racist policy and replacing it with a neutral one is not enough. The United States must act immediately with investments in minority-owned businesses, with investments in health equity, with investments in HBCUs and on the longer term a look at reparations so that we can mend what has been broken.

Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

I welcome the challenge of connecting with black voters

As mayor of a city that is racially diverse, I have lived the struggles of a community where too many people live with the consequences of racial inequity. I care about this because my faith teaches me that salvation has to do with how I make myself useful to those who have been excluded. I have the experience of seeing my rights expanded by a coalition of people like me and people not at all like me, working side by side, making it possible for me to be standing here.
Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

I knew I was different long before I knew I was gay

Q: When did you first know you were gay? What was that initial teenage years like?

BUTTIGIEG: What it was like was a civil war, because I knew I was different long before I was ready to say that I was gay and long before I was able to acknowledge that that was something that I didn't have power over. I think you spend so much time as you grow up learning the things that you can control or trying to control things, and there are some things that you don't. Learning to accept that and let alone learning that it didn't have to be a bad thing, that took me a long time. I so admire people who are coming out at young ages, but also recognize that there's no right age or right way or right time to come out. I think people are ready when they're ready. And for me, I was well into my 20s before I was really ready to say even to myself that I was gay. But even [after coming out to friends] I wasn't ready to come out to the world.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

An Equality Act will fight discrimination on many fronts

Q: What will you do to ensure people won't lose their livelihoods just because they're LGBT+?

BUTTIGIEG: Even if the Supreme Court upholds the idea that the Civil Rights Act applies to discrimination against, for example, same-sex couples in the workplace, we've still got a long way to go when it comes to other forms of discrimination, for housing, public accommodation. That is why we urgently need an Equality Act. I will fight for that, and I will sign it the moment that it hits my desk.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

We need a systemic approach to replace racist system

Q: You've said that anyone who votes to re-elect President Trump is, at best, looking the other way on racism.

BUTTIGIEG: Look, systemic racism preceded this president, and even when we defeat him, it will be with us. That's why we need a systemic approach to dismantle it. It's not enough to just take a racist policy, replace it with a neutral one and expect things will just get better on their own.

I have proposed the most comprehensive vision to tackle systemic racism in every one of these areas, marshaling as many resources as went into the Marshall plan that rebuilt Europe, but this time, a Douglass plan that we invest right here at home, to make sure that we're not only dealing with things like the overincarceration of black Americans, but also black solutions, entrepreneurship, raising to 25% the target for the federal government to do business with minority-owned businesses, investing in HBCUs that are training and educating the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

Black voters more interested in issues than his being gay

Q: Do you think the fact that you're gay is part of what might be holding you back with some black voters?

BUTTIGIEG: I think most black voters, like most voters in general, want to know what the candidates are actually going to do to improve their lives. When I talk to black voters, there's a sense of having been taken for granted in politics and a sense that candidates haven't always been speaking to them or earning their trust.

Source: CNN State of the Union interview for 2019 Democratic primary , Aug 18, 2019

Systemic racism has touched every part of American life

Systemic racism has touched every part of American life, from health to homeownership. If you walk into an emergency room and you are black, your reports of pain will be taken less seriously. If you apply for a job and you are black, you are less likely to be called just because of the name on the resume. It's why I've proposed that we do everything from investing in historically red-lined neighborhoods to build black wealth in homeownership to supporting entrepreneurship for black Americans.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Douglass Plan: tackle racial inequality with funding & laws

[Responding to a police shooting in Buttigieg's hometown of South Bend Indiana, where a white police officer shot a black man, Mayor Buttigieg said], "If you're a white candidate, it is twice as important for you to be talking about racial inequity and not just describing the problem but actually talking about what we're going to do about it." Buttigieg told NPR his "Douglass Plan" aims to establish a $10 billion fund for black entrepreneurs over five years, invest $25 billion in historically black colleges, legalize marijuana, expunge past drug convictions, reduce the prison population by half and pass a new Voting Rights Act to further empower the federal government to ensure voting access. His campaign says it is equal in scale to the Marshall Plan, which used the equivalent of approximately $100 billion at current value to rebuild Europe after World War II. Buttigieg says the program would be enacted alongside potential direct reparations for slavery, not in place of it.
Source: NPR Morning Edition, "Election 2020: Opening Arguments" , Jul 11, 2019

Racial inequality compounds, which is why it is persistent

We need to intentionally invest in health, in home ownership, in entrepreneurship, in access to democracy, in economic empowerment. If we don't do these things, we shouldn't be surprised that racial inequality persists because inequalities compound. Just like a dollar saved, a dollar stolen also compounds. And I think that helps to explain the persistent racial inequality that we have in our national life today.
Source: NPR Morning Edition, "Election 2020: Opening Arguments" , Jul 11, 2019

White America needs to face roots of systemic racism

I think we'll know we're getting somewhere when this is not regarded as some specialty issue that candidates of color talk about or that we only talk about when addressing voters of color. This is a conversation that, frankly, white America needs to have too, because white America needs to face the roots of these inequities and the fact of systemic racism all around us. It's the air we breathe.
Source: NPR Morning Edition: Election 2020 Special Series , Jul 11, 2019

Has dealt with racism & police violence, but it's not enough

[Mayor Pete Buttigieg held a town hall after a black man was shot by the police in his home town.] "If anyone who is on patrol is shown to be a racist or to do something racist in a way that is substantiated, that is their last day on the street. I don't want to seem defensive, but we have taken a lot of steps. They clearly haven't been enough. But I can't accept the suggestion that we haven't done anything. I acknowledge that it has not been enough. At the end of the day, I'm responsible."
Source: The Hill e-zine on 2020 Democratic primary , Jun 23, 2019

If U.S. to address human rights, we need to be credible

Q: How would you cooperate with countries that view homosexuality as a crime punishable by death?

A: I think it's wrong to harm or punish people because they're part of the LGBTQ community. I get that not every country is there. In some dramatically milder respects, but still very bothersome ones, our own country is not there. I believe that this is an example of why the world needs an America that is strong, that's credible, and that people believe keeps its word. Does anybody think right now that the U.S. has an awful lot of moral authority in the world? And whether it's LGBTQ rights or, frankly, any kind of human rights, it's really important for the U.S. to be a credible messenger. I still believe that America can spread values related to freedom and democracy that'll benefit various minorities living in their home countries, but not if we're not credible.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 Democratic primary , Apr 22, 2019

Problem about me being gay means problem with my creator

[On Buttigieg's status as openly gay]: "That's the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand," Buttigieg said: "That if you've got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me--your quarrel, sir, is with my creator."

Pete Buttigieg was campaigning to be re-elected mayor, when he came out as gay in 2015--a first for his state, which was then governed by Mike Pence, a self-described religious conservative. At the time, Pence, who has a history of anti-LGBTQ positions, spoke warmly of Buttigieg after his announcement about his sexuality. This was despite the fact that Buttigieg had criticized Pence's support of a controversial religious liberty law that some groups said would give legal cover to discrimination.

"If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade," Buttigieg said while speaking at an LGBTQ event this week, making a direct appeal to the same religious beliefs that Pence has said support his social conservative.

Source: People e-zine "LGBTQ History," on 2020 Presidential Hopefuls , Apr 9, 2019

Address racial divide by showing up & building trust

We worked hard on civil rights training, on implicit bias training. But also on getting our police officers to do foot patrols, to walk the neighborhoods. To show up not just when there's an emergency, but when there's a fun fair or a church event or a block party. Whenever we've had a moment or an incident that has threatened to divide us racially in our city, we've made sure that we invest in the face time that it takes to reestablish trust.
Source: Meet the Press 2019 interview of 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 7, 2019

Calls for redistricting reform; questions Electoral College

Buttigieg endorsed redistricting reforms and other changes that would allow for greater representation of the public interest. "Bold changes and reforms are needed," Buttigieg said, including "things that might require constitutional action. Things like questioning whether it really makes sense to have an electoral college, which twice in my lifetime has overruled the American people. And whether it makes sense to continue with places like D.C. and Puerto Rico denied full political representation."
Source: Common Dreams e-zine on 2020 Democratic primary , Feb 20, 2019

As mayor, renamed main street as Martin Luther King Blvd

From time to time, someone would come to a council meeting and argue that a street named "MLK Drive" ought to be extended to a longer stretch of the road. It made sense to me; especially compelling was the idea of making sure it was a street with a bus route, given the significance of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

It turns out that one of the few unilateral, unchecked powers that an Indiana mayor has is to rename a street. Every idea I floated for such "toponymic commemoration" met a new angle of resistance. There turned out to be a natural alternative: Saint Joseph Street. There were enough places already named after our area's patron saint of nearly everything. I announced it, arranged for the street signs to be made, and made it official on Dr. King's birthday in 2017.

Achieving this took only four years. And now, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard looks good, and so do the busses bearing Dr. King's name that run along it.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p.152-4 , Feb 12, 2019

Declared "open city" for LGBT, when state became anti-LGBT

My own moral outrage compounded the fact that [RFRA] had just made my job, as a mayor intent on growing our community as an inclusive and welcoming place, more difficult. The bill would preempt local laws like our local nondiscrimination ordinance, and send a message that people living in our city could not expect to be treated equally. It was a blow to some of our most vulnerable residents--like a teenager at one of our high schools, already in the incredibly difficult process of facing her sexuality or gender identity, now being told that the state would not protect her rights.

The only way to avoid South Bend getting lumped in with the rest of the state was to be vocal. I sought to reassure members of the LGBT community that they were safe in South Bend, and called on the state to reverse course.

My office distributed stickers reading "COME ON IN: SOUTH BEND IS AN OPEN CITY," and they quickly became appearing in restaurant and shop windows across town.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p.213-4 , Feb 12, 2019

Someday, politicians won't have to come out as gay

How to reconcile my professional life with the fact that I am gay? I was not eager to become the poster child for LGBT issues; I had strongly supported these causes but did not want to be defined by them. Before explaining it to the world, I had to explain it to some people in my life. In my case, the top of the list was my Mom and Dad.

If any disappointment surfaced at the table that night, it came after my mom looked at me, with a little light in her eyes, and asked, "Is there someone?" Only after answering no, and seeing the light fade a little, did I realize that the tone of her question had been one of hope. No, there wasn't someone at the moment. But I wished there were.

Someday politicians won't have to come out as gay any more than one "comes out" as straight. Someone like me would just show up at a social function with a date who was of the same sex, and everyone would figure it out and shrug. Maybe it's already getting to be like that, in some coastal cities. But not in Indiana.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p.264-7 , Feb 12, 2019

For LGBT rights, but doesn't presume to speak for everyone

On "CBS This Morning," no one mentioned that Buttigieg could be the first gay President. I asked whether he saw that as a measure of how quickly gay identity has become accepted. "Depends where you are. You quickly get plunged into this world where you're supposed to represent your community," but at that point he had little experience of the gay community. "Like, I will fight for the trans woman of color, but do I really know anything about her experience because I'm married to a dude?"
Source: New Yorker magazine on 2020 Democratic primary , Feb 9, 2019

Supports Equality Act; need better legislation

I think one of the big things that we're looking at, of course, is the Equality Act. I live in a state where it is still--not in South Bend because we took local action, but in most parts of my state it's still perfectly legal to be fired for who you are, and I think we need better legislation, civil rights legislation that takes care of that.
Source: Washington Blade on 2020 Democratic primary , Feb 5, 2019

Trans members of the military deserve presidential support

Trans members of the military who are willing to put their lives on the line in order to defend this country deserve to be supported by their commander in chief. It's extremely disturbing, especially for someone who portrayed himself as somebody who might change the way the Republican Party related to the LGBT community, to turn around and do this demonstrates that he was never serious about that, not to mention the elevation of Mike Pence to one heartbeat away from the presidency.
Source: Washington Blade on 2020 Democratic primary , Feb 5, 2019

Voters have judged his record, not his marriage

Q: Is the country ready for a gay couple in the White House?

A: I think there's only one way to find out. When I came out, it was in the middle of a reelection campaign. I just reached that point in my life where I was ready. And we didn't know what

Source: ABC This Week 2019 interviews for 2020 Democratic primary , Feb 3, 2019

Freedom is personal, not about government regulation

Conservatives talk about freedom. They mean it, but they're often negligent about the extent to which things other than government make people unfree. You're not free if you have crushing medical debt. You're not free if you're being treated differently because of who you are. What has really affected my personal freedom more: the fact that I don't have the freedom to pollute a river, or the fact that for part of my adult life, I didn't have the freedom to marry somebody I was in love with.
Source: Christian Science Monitor on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 8, 2017

Came out as gay, to inspire others to judge character

Mayor Buttigieg wrote, "For a student struggling with her sexuality, it might be helpful for an openly gay mayor to send the message that her community will have a place for her. And for a conservative resident from a different generation, perhaps a familiar face can be a reminder that we're all in this together." He hoped his coming-out story would help people judge each other "by the things that we ought to care about most, like the content of our character and the value of our contributions."
Source: Mic Network on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Jun 16, 2015

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