Physicians of color need student loan forgiveness

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I urge the president to use executive action to cancel student debt. As president, he can take immediate action on student debt which would be a lifeline for students, parents, and their families.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a health crisis like we have never seen before. Adding the heavy burden of student debt is a recipe for disaster for millions of families. Student debt cancellation would provide much-needed relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. It would stimulate the economy and tackle racial disparities by eliminating the wealth gap caused by the student loan debt crisis, which disproportionately affects Black and Brown persons compared to other racial groups.

Canceling student debt in response to the COVID-19 crisis will help over 40 million people. Economic harm, lost wages, and medical costs will impact families for years to come. Permanent relief would free up hundreds of dollars each month for families to purchase necessities: food on their table, a roof over their head, and critical health care.

Student debt cancellation would also stimulate the economy when it is needed most. It would boost GDP by up to $108 billion a year, and, at a time when millions of Americans are out of work, it would add up to 1.5 million jobs to the economy each year.

Debt cancellation will help tackle systemic racial inequality. Black and brown communities are facing the brunt of the economic harm caused by the pandemic. On top of that, people of color carry more student loan debt and have more difficulty paying it back. Canceling student debt would alleviate this burden and close the racial wealth gap that holds people of color back.  As a Black man, I know this all too personally.

I voted for President Biden, and I appreciate him being a president for all Americans.  This is an issue that affects many Americans in so many ways.  Recent polls show that most voters support debt cancellation during the pandemic and found strong support from both Democrats and Republicans. Plus, over 1.4 million student debt crisis supporters have signed petitions to cancel student debt in response to the pandemic.

I strongly urge President Biden to use executive action to cancel student loan debt.

Earl Stewart, Jr. is an internal medicine physician.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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