JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is participating in an African American leaders roundtable Thursday afternoon.

The roundtable, which is being hosted in Jacksonville, is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. The virtual discussion will focus on issues impacting the African American community.

Rep. Al Lawson (D-5th District) introduced the presumptive democratic nominee, before Biden began his remarks by addressing the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

"These vicious acts call to mind the darkest times of our history," Biden said. "Ahmaud should be alive today. We have no recourse for the life he lost ... but we can recommit to justice."

Biden also addressed the discrepancy of COVID-19's impact on the African American community, saying the pandemic highlights the systemic racial inequities in our society.

The presidential candidate pointed to "The Biden Plan For Black America," which his campaign unveiled Thursday. He called for the help of everyone in middle-class America to unite to make sure no one group is forgotten during the pandemic.

Black civil rights leaders with the National Action Network participated in a phone call with Biden Wednesday, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, Convener of the Black Women's Roundtable Public Policy Network Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the NAACP Derrick Johnson and President and CEO of the National Urban League Marc Morial.

“As the world grapples with the disparities faced by Blacks in America in the wake of COVID-19, the country needs a stalwart leader that will tackle the systemic inequities that have been exacerbated with the current administration,” Sharpton said. “Many in the civil rights community are looking for Biden to be bold around criminal justice reform, infrastructure development and education to lay the groundwork for more opportunity when it comes to jobs and better quality of life for communities most in need. I also urge Biden to fulfill his commitment to appointing a Black woman to the Supreme Court as well as to prioritize diversity of experience and thought in his administration. The Black community knows that it is essential for a person of color to have the ear of the president.”

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