MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: Democratic presidential candidates (L-R) former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, former tech executive Andrew Yang and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg take part in the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida.  A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: Democratic presidential candidates (L-R) former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, former tech executive Andrew Yang and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg take part in the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:43
Buttigieg addresses South Bend officer-involved shooting
Now playing
03:14
Abrams: My hope is we don't let their partisanship diminish our citizenship
President Joe Biden speaks to the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, from the East Room of the White House, Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP
President Joe Biden speaks to the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, from the East Room of the White House, Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Now playing
03:41
How technology at NASA helps guide Biden on climate
stacey abrams john kennedy split
POOL
stacey abrams john kennedy split
Now playing
07:39
'Ok, I get the idea': GOP senator cuts off Stacey Abrams on controversial voting law
CNN
Now playing
03:10
Weir on Biden's vow to cut emissions: It's incredibly hard
Now playing
03:05
Was QAnon used by foreign adversaries?
CNN
Now playing
01:28
Buttigieg: It's going to take a national effort to reach Biden's climate goal
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) speaks to reporters as she arrives for the continuation of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on January 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. The next phase of the trial, in which senators will be allowed to ask written questions, will extend into tomorrow. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) speaks to reporters as she arrives for the continuation of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on January 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. The next phase of the trial, in which senators will be allowed to ask written questions, will extend into tomorrow. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Now playing
04:08
Murkowski explains why she's voting for Biden nominee
President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the White House in Washington, after former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP
President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the White House in Washington, after former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Now playing
03:01
'A step forward': Biden speaks after Chauvin's guilty verdict
CNN's Eli Honig explains how much time former police officer Derek Chauvin, 45, could face after he was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case of George Floyd.
CNN
CNN's Eli Honig explains how much time former police officer Derek Chauvin, 45, could face after he was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case of George Floyd.
Now playing
03:25
Here's the sentence Derek Chauvin could face after guilty verdict
CNN's Van Jones reacts to Attorney General Merrick Garland's announcement that the Justice Department has launched a federal civil probe into policing practices in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd and the murder convictions for ex-cop Derek Chauvin.
CNN
CNN's Van Jones reacts to Attorney General Merrick Garland's announcement that the Justice Department has launched a federal civil probe into policing practices in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd and the murder convictions for ex-cop Derek Chauvin.
Now playing
03:08
Van Jones reacts to Justice Department's Minneapolis police probe
CNN
Now playing
03:14
'Performative outrage': Avlon on GOP backlash to Rep. Waters
Two Honduran children found clinging to an island surrounded by a powerful current in the Rio Grande were rescued by Border Patrol agents and taken into custody, the region's top border official said, the latest example of the dangers migrants face as a growing number desperately attempt to reach the US.
U.S. Border Patrol
Two Honduran children found clinging to an island surrounded by a powerful current in the Rio Grande were rescued by Border Patrol agents and taken into custody, the region's top border official said, the latest example of the dangers migrants face as a growing number desperately attempt to reach the US.
Now playing
02:22
See Border Patrol rescue 2 migrant children in Rio Grande
Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Andrew Harnik/Pool/Getty Images
Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
02:59
Enten: Biden is focused on what Americans care about
CNN
Now playing
02:40
Biden says he's praying for 'right verdict' in Chauvin trial
ST. PAUL, MN - NOVEMBER 6:  Former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale concedes the election to his Republican opponent Norm Coleman November 6, 2002 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mondale and Coleman were in a race for U.S. Senate that was too close to call the evening before.  (Photo by Mark Erickson/Getty Images)
Mark Erickson/Getty Images
ST. PAUL, MN - NOVEMBER 6: Former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale concedes the election to his Republican opponent Norm Coleman November 6, 2002 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mondale and Coleman were in a race for U.S. Senate that was too close to call the evening before. (Photo by Mark Erickson/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:00
Walter Mondale dies at 93
(CNN) —  

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said that tackling racial inequality is a “matter of national survival” during a speech before an audience of black business leaders in Chicago on Tuesday.

Buttigieg’s comments at a breakfast meeting of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition come as the South Bend, Indiana, mayor struggles to win over black support during the Democratic presidential primary. The mayor, despite being among the top five candidates in the polls and raising over $30 million so far in 2019, has seen little growth in support from black voters, as evidenced by the fact that 0% of national black voters said they supported him in a CNN poll released Monday.

“If we do not tackle the problem of racial inequality in my lifetime, I am convinced that it will upend the American project in my lifetime,” Buttigieg said at an event hosted by Rev. Jesse Jackson, a civil rights leader and former presidential candidate who founded the coalition. “It brought our country to its knees once and if we do not act, it could again.”

He added: “I believe this is not only a matter of justice, but a matter of national survival.”

Buttigieg has repeatedly said that his struggles with black voters are partly because he is unknown in the black community after leading a small city of just over 100,000 people for eight years.

“When you’re new on the scene, and you’re not from a community of color, you’ve got to work much harder in order to earn that trust, because trust is largely a function of quantity time,” Buttigieg told CNN on Tuesday. “I’m committed to doing that work, but I think the most important question is will our policies benefit black Americans and all Americans and if that happens, and I can show that, I think the politics will start to take care of themselves.”

Buttigieg has tried to promote a sweeping policy plan – his so-called Douglass Plan, named after abolitionist Fredrick Douglass – aimed at combating racial inequality in policing, the economy, education and a host of other policy areas.

Buttigieg told the audience on Tuesday that as president he wants to work to triple the number of entrepreneurs from underserved areas and create a federal fund that would co-invest in businesses run by people color, particularly in low-income communities.

Buttigieg also gave more fulsome remarks about reparations on Tuesday, telling the audience, “Every dollar plundered a hundred fifty years ago costs the descendants of the victim a thousand today.”

And in a shot at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who recently argued reparations were not needed because no one who perpetrated slavery is around today, Buttigieg said, “Contrary to what some seem to believe, what this means is that the fact that some of this theft came a very long time ago does not make it better. It makes it worse.”

Buttigieg, so far, only supports studying the issue of reparations, but told reporters after the speech that the “spirit” of reparations “is something we can act on right away.”

The focus on economic issues, he said, is part of showing that so-called “black problems” are not limited to criminal justice reform.

“As important as criminal justice reform is, we must outgrow a policy debate that sometimes reduces the black experience to encounters with the justice system,” Buttigieg said. “For every mention of black victimization in the justice system, we should also be speaking of black empowerment through education and entrepreneurship. For every discussion of so-called ‘black problems,’ there should be just as much about ‘black solutions.’”

Buttigieg’s problems with issues of race have recently been brought to the forefront by an officer involved shooting in South Bend, where a black man allegedly breaking into cars with a knife was shot and killed by a white officer. The shooting stirred protests there, forcing Buttigieg to take time off the campaign trail and putting a spotlight on the lack of racial diversity in the South Bend Police Department.

Buttigieg has said he accepts responsibility for the issues and repeated that claim before the audience on Tuesday.

“We accept responsibility, I accept responsibility, for the work that is left to be done,” the mayor added.

Buttigieg opened his remarks in Chicago by paying tribute to newly elected Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the first black woman to lead the city, calling her “a trailblazer and inspiration.”

Lightfoot told reporters after the speech that her advice to Buttigieg about winning over black voters is the same as the advice she gives to former Vice President Joe Biden: “We cannot survive without our party recognizing the absolutely necessity that our urban centers have to have resources and support.”

“We cannot,” she added, “afford to have 2020 be one of those same old, same olds.”