(The Guardian) -- This week, Elizabeth Warren, who is running for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, announced a proposal to cancel student debt for millions of people and make public college free. This is a stunning, visionary plan that would transform our educational system and dramatically improve millions of people’s lives.
But like every other progressive proposal now being touted by presidential hopefuls, from Medicare for All to the Green New Deal, the call for debt relief and free education first came from the grassroots. And if we want a real student debt jubilee to actually happen – to go from policy paper to reality – the grassroots will need to continue to push for it. Fortunately, it’s a battle that can be won.
Raising our voices is how we got this far. Ten years ago, student debt, even as it soared, was not seen as a serious issue. Writers including Tamara Draut and Anya Kamenetz were early to sound the alarm, exposing young people’s disproportionate indebtedness as a structural issue. Scholars such as Darrick Hamilton and Tressie McMillan Cottom would later go on to document the racially disparate impact of student loans, which burden women and people of color most of all.
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