U.S. Rep. Jim Moran pressed the Urban League of Northern Virginia to use his office more in what he cast as a continuing fight for justice Wednesday night during a candidate forum for the 8th Congressional District.
Moran opened the night by talking about why African-American families lost a greater percentage of their wealth during the financial crisis that began in 2007, saying most of their assets were in their homes and, generally, that kind of wealth accumulates over generations.
"That's how families acquire wealth. …We don't have that tradition because of laws that prevented it from being established really until the 1970s," Moran said. "We do have to push home ownership. We have to acquire assets. And the reason this is related to small businesses, because if you go to start up a small business, you have to have collateral. If you don't have that asset, they're not going to make that loan. And that's why we're in the situation we're in."
He also talked about work he did to help save the Northern Virginia Urban League's headquarters on Duke Street in Alexandria, and about how the Urban League had a role in "standing up for what's right, insisting on justice" and making sure President Barack Obama was able to push his agenda past Republican obstruction over the next four years.
"We have to do more. We have to seize opportunities, entrepreneurial opportunities," he said. "It still worries me, in the demographic makeup of this area, that minorities are not able to take full advantage of the economic opportunities, particular in technology, in some areas of defense contracting, and in some other areas. …This is about justice. Together, the Urban League has the ability, has the influence to keep the pressure on… More home ownership. More small business opportunities. More exploitation of the kinds of commercialization of technology and federal contracting that's occurring."
"This is about justice," he said.