Former Vice President Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley has started a line of 100% made in America clothing to fund sustainable change in impoverished communities. Her efforts stand in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s fashion brand, as well as his daughter Ivanka’s line of clothing and accessories. Both Trump’s produce knockoff luxury items in foreign countries, almost certainly exploiting sweatshop and child labor. For all his talk of bringing manufacturing back to America, and his supposed dedication to championing the average American worker, Trump is more than willing to outsource jobs and exploit cheap labor in the developing world.
Ashley Biden was not inspired by a wealthy childhood and family tradition of using their name to sell mediocre products; she is a social worker in Delaware. Through her career, Ashley learned firsthand the extent to which some American communities lack resources and suffer because of it. She has come up with a plan to make change by empowering community leaders to make sustainable economic change.
Ashely’s brand Livelihood sells high quality hoodies online and uses the profits to fund development programs. She explains, “The phrase on the back of the neck line is ‘Keep Your Hood Up.’ It’s a reminder, even when life is tough, to keep your neighborhood up in prosperity and focus on positive outreach in your community.”
The program will select zip code areas that are underserved (the first two areas are in Anacostia D.C. and Wilmington, Delaware) and fund projects that community members think would be most beneficial in the area. In an interview, Ashely told Teen Vogue,
“I want a janitor, a school teacher, the local pastor, whomever is involved in the community to sit at the table and to pick the projects for economic development.” The scope available to community leaders is wide, including initiatives for “education, community centers, literacy programs, tutoring, or workforce development.”
Ashley continued to explain that the Livelihood project’s website will also focus on longterm policy change that needs to happen to help suffering communities:
“We’re going to be talking about policy reforms needed, such as campaign finance reform, tax revisions, [and] minimum wage. We’re going to be talking about the importance of civic engagement participation. Because many people don’t believe understand governance, and how it’s set up. [Livelihood] is encouraging people to get involved on a local level.”
Ashley is a shining example of what America needs most. We do not need an autocrat in the White House claiming he can fix everything with a few dramatic executive orders. We need individual Americans giving the tools to members of ailing communities to help themselves. We need our policymakers to commit themselves to the longterm investment necessary to make longterm sustainable change for struggling Americans. Ashley exemplifies what the average American can do: work on local community projects, and demand change from elected officials. We should all follow her lead.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.