BROOKYLN, New York (WABC) -- Vice President Kamala Harris visited Brooklyn Thursday to tout the Biden administration's investments in underserved communities, financial institutions, and small businesses.
She made the trip with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, touring the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Economic Solutions Center, a first-of-its-kind community development corporation that helps expand access to capital and community development.
Restoration Corporation President and CEO Blondel Pinnock guided the tour through multiple tour stops at the Restoration Plaza on Fulton Street.
Harris spoke with Lorraine West, of Lorraine West Jewelry, who described getting her business off the ground and trying to move past being a solo entrepreneur and growing into a business.
The second stop was with Julian Stillman and Omolara Adelekan, who spoke about the financial aspect of small businesses.
Stillman opened by speaking about closing the racial wealth gap, saying he's a Brown immigrant from the LGBTQI community and that he also works toward total inclusion for all.
Adelekan is a Nigerian immigrant and a client of Stillman who has gotten help her credit score, saving for school, paying off debt, and working towards buying a house.
She spoke to how the program takes care of everyone's needs.
Adelekan said Stillman helped her figure out how to properly use a credit card, to which Harris joked, "I think there are probably lots of us in this room that need to learn that too."
The third stop was with dance instructor Karen Thornton-Daniels and her student, Aomi Sailing, who spoke about her college search and why other young leaders should associate themselves with a program like this that encourages leadership and mentorship.
She mentioned leadership roles she held at her high school, practicing her people skills, and how that all goes hand in hand with education.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams joined Harris and Fudge for remarks before they announced an investment of tens of billions of dollars from a coalition of 23 companies and foundations to underserved communities.
"Community lenders are uniquely positioned to fill the gaps that traditional banks either cannot or will address," Harris said. "The folks who run these institutions, many of whom I've met, who are here, often work and live in the very communities that they serve. They see clearly their community's needs and its challenges. They understand their community, and they also see their communities strengths and opportunities. "
She said the administration is committed to helping underserved communities.
"There are still far too many people nowadays who just don't have access to the capital and the financial services they need," she said. "And I believe, given the breadth of the financial disparity, the public and private sector must join forces to take on these challenges."