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Biden, Harris to launch Black voter outreach program in effort to shore up softening support

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(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will launch their national Black voter outreach program with a rally in Philadelphia on Wednesday, as they look to shore up softening support among the critical constituency in Pennsylvania, a key 2024 battleground state, the campaign said.

Biden and Harris plan to speak at Girard College, a majority Black boarding school for students grades 1-12 who come from financially limited households. They will be joined there by the school’s students and their families, and by Black leaders, including Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, members of Congress, mayors, HBCU presidents, and union and advocacy group leaders, the campaign said.

The outreach program, which they’re calling Black Voters for Biden-Harris, will be coupled with an eight-figure investment, but the campaign did not provide ABC News with a specific dollar amount.

The campaign said it “believes that Black voters deserve to hear from Team Biden-Harris, and they deserve to have their vote earned, not assumed.”

A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll found Biden’s support among Black voters down by double digits from his share of the vote in 2020, with 74% saying they currently back the president compared to 87% who said they voted for him is the last election.

Former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has made attempts to directly court Black voters. He held a rally in the heavily Black and Brown South Bronx, New York, last week, had pre-planned photo ops at fast food restaurants, and has suggested his criminal indictment will help him connect to Black voters — something Biden’s team called “blatantly racist” earlier this year.

“While we are busy putting in the work to earn Black America’s support — Donald Trump continues to show just how ignorant he is,” Biden’s principal deputy campaign director Quentin Fulks said in a statement. “Hosting janky rap concerts to hide the fact that he lacks the resources and competence to genuinely engage our community.”

In recent days, the Biden campaign released an ad on TV and radio in major cities in battleground states hitting Trump for “disrespecting Black folk” to counter the former president’s efforts to make inroads with Black voters.

Biden and Harris will be introduced by Lina Mayen, a first-generation Sudanese American and out-of-state student at Temple University crushed by the cost of higher education, and Robert N.C. Nix III, a small business owner whose family owns an airport concessions business that struggled during the pandemic, the campaign said.

After the Philly rally, Biden will visit a local Black-owned business for an organizing event with the Black Chamber of Commerce, the campaign said. There will also be a phone banking event later in the day featuring Rep. Barbara Lee, it added.

The campaign’s Black outreach will continue into the weekend, they said, with events in battleground states, including Black church engagement in Arizona, barber shop and hair salon events in Michigan, and a block party-style celebration in Nevada. And over the summer, the campaign said it will partner with civic organizations to put on voter education and registration drives,

This follows a multi-day effort by Biden last week to outreach to Black voters, attending a Detroit NAACP dinner, announcing grants to further desegregate magnet schools on the landmark Brown v. Board case’s anniversary, taking formal initial steps to reschedule marijuana, and delivering the commencement address at Morehouse College.

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