A new organization focused on uplifting economic opportunities for African-Americans through political action announced its presence with four endorsements Monday, saying it plans to spend millions in the upcoming midterms. The Black Economic Alliance, formed by African-American business leaders, has already raised $3.5 million over the past two months, The Washington Post reports.
The alliance plans to invest in campaigns in areas with strong African-American populations, where the black voter turnout could be decisive. Although officially nonpartisan, the group has endorsed four Democrats: Stacey Abrams for Georgia governor, Ben Jealous for Maryland governor, Richard Cordray for Ohio governor, and Sen. Tim Kaine for re-election in Virginia.
Executive Director Akunna Cook told reporters the group will back candidates in competitive races, where there’s at least a 10% African-American population. Further funding from donors and grassroots organizers will go towards both campaigns and the promotion of voter turnout, CNN reports. The alliance plans to back 10 to 15 midterm candidates, with endorsements for 10 to 12 congressional candidates will come after Labor Day.
The Black Economic Alliance is the first African-American collective committed to promoting the black community’s economic needs, says co-chairman Tony Coles. It began with a meeting held last summer, where black executives began brainstorming how to jointly organize a political action committee.
“As we moved into 2017, we recognized that the stakes were very high in terms of the economic opportunities for all Americans,” Coles told The Post. “We began asking, ‘What can we do?’ And we realized in that discussion that there was great power in the collective.”