Prior to taking office, President Joe Biden promised that racial justice would be one of the four "exacerbated crises" he would address in his early days at work. And on Jan. 26, Biden will take a number of steps to strengthen fairness and justice, including repealing the Trump administration's 1776 commission, which, among other things, sought to downplay the role of slavery in American history and examine how federal she is agencies promoting and promoting inequality along racial lines.
Biden's equity platform states that while equal opportunity is America's foundation, systemic racism – laws, policies, and institutions – prevents many Americans from achieving that ideal. This fact is exemplified by the coronavirus pandemic, which has decimated black and indigenous communities by taking their lives disproportionately, leaving many in those communities unemployed or at higher risk of infection due to their position as essential workers.
Under the Order to Promote Racial Justice and Support Underserved Communities, Biden seeks to take a “comprehensive approach to promoting justice for all, including people of color and others who have historically been underserved, marginalized and affected by persistent poverty and inequality. ”
Biden's early attention to justice comes at a time when advocates of social justice are urging elected officials to deal directly with systemic racism manifested in politics, education, health, housing, the environment, and the economy through politics – not just scrutiny and deals carries out thoughts about the need for unity. In 2020, millions of Americans protested the police murder of black Americans like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. While Biden's Executive Order suggests that justice is paramount, activists recognize the need to put pressure on the administration to set the agenda and continue to create urgency.
"No series of executive orders will remove structural repression," Maurice Mitchell, National Director of the Working Families Party and organizer of the Black Lives Movement and the Front, told Vox. “Historically, it was because social movements led the government when this country made great gains in terms of racial justice and justice. The White House has never seen a significant movement in terms of racial justice and justice. Since we don't expect it this time, our social movement plays a crucial role in all of this. "
Biden will lift Trump's ban on anti-bias training and reject Trump's mission to downplay the role of slavery and race in American history
Biden will underscore his commitment to justice by withdrawing two signature orders implemented by the Trump administration last fall that deny the role of systemic racism in America.
The first of these, "Combating Racial and Gender Stereotypes," banned federal agencies from providing on-the-job training courses that "inculcate any form of racial or gender stereotypical or racial or sex scapegoat on employees." The order was limited to a ban on diversity training that informed employees about racism or helped them to become aware of their implicit prejudices. Trump's order also rejected the critical theory of race, the basis of this training program that moved scholars and activists to understand how endemic racism is in American life.
According to an Obama White House report, anti-bias training for federal employees has traditionally helped reduce the negative effects of implicit and explicit bias, and ultimately improve the efficiency of various agencies. During Obamas In administration, the Personnel Management Office developed a course entitled “Micro-Behavior: Understanding the Power of the Unconscious” and trained more than 10,000 federal employees on the effects of implicit bias.
Biden will also overturn the order that established the 1776 Commission, a Trump-organized group of historians, to counter what was taught to students in school about slavery and America's creation. The commission, named after the year the Declaration of Independence was signed, was a response to the New York Times' 1619 project, which dates back to the year enslaved people from West Africa were first brought to America and declared inequality the economic origins of the country.
Since the 1619 project was published in 2019, educators have used the project as a teaching tool fighting against the whitewashed American history found in textbooks. The 1776 commission wanted to keep school curricula free of information that the founders viewed, for example, as individuals interested in maintaining the institution of slavery. The 1776 commission published a 45-page report on Martin Luther King Jr. Day setting out its version of American history. However, two days later, on the day of Biden's inauguration, he disappeared from the White House website.
In his Executive Order, Biden gives federal agencies 60 days to end all actions related to Trump's orders, including reversing any steps they took to end anti-bias training.
The administration plans to study and assess inequality and provide federal funding for investments in underserved communities
Biden's order instructs any federal agency – there are more than 400 of them – not to take more than 200 days (mid-August) to conduct an equity assessment to determine how that particular agency may have prevented underserved communities from providing benefits and get opportunities. The study also examines the resources available to those responsible for promoting civil rights. Based on the results of these assessments, the administration, particularly the Office of Administration and Budget, will allocate funds to increase investment in underserved communities.
Biden has tasked the Home Affairs Council, led by Susan E. Rice, with investigating systemic inequality and identifying the communities that the federal government has historically underserved. The same body will also develop the guidelines for promoting equity over the next four years.
The administration gave some examples of challenges it could address, such as "filling gaps in wages, home loans, lending opportunities and access to higher education," but did not indicate which areas it would like to address first.
Biden's Equity Regulation also emphasizes that the administration is looking for ways to broaden its communications with community-level organizations and civil rights organizations. After the presidential election, civil rights groups like the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation sat down with the Biden administration to outline priorities. The Biden administration wants this communication to continue.
Biden also plans to set up a data working group to disaggregate information by categories such as race, ethnicity, gender, disability, income, and veteran status. For economists, scholars, and activists, this breakdown by category enables a better understanding of how policies affect specific groups of people. It is impossible to advocate change if there is not enough information about the problem. "This lack of data has cascading effects and hinders efforts to measure and drive equity," the order reads.
Further orders are expected to come in on Tuesday: the creation of a police commission to oppose discrimination against Asian Americans
The Biden government also plans to introduce more executive measures in the area of racial justice, according to Hill. However, no further information has been released by the government at this time. These include:
Establishment of a police commission. During the campaign, Biden resisted calls to disappoint the police and instead asked for a $ 300 million investment in a community police program.
Measures that would improve conditions in prisons and close private prisons, in line with what Biden proposed during his presidential campaign.
An executive move to oppose racism and xenophobia towards Asian Americans, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic. During the pandemic, Asian Americans were victims of racial attacks and became the scapegoats and stereotypes as the people who created and spread the coronavirus. Trump helped stimulate these responses by describing the virus in racist language.
A memo instructing agencies to strengthen their communications with Indian tribes. The United States has historically failed to honor its agreements with indigenous peoples. The memo could be a start for the federal government doing its job and helping to reverse poverty and poor health in the Indian country.
Biden's appointment is a start. Activists want more.
Biden made his interest in fighting racism clear when he first addressed the nation on Inauguration Day when he identified white supremacy, domestic terrorism and political extremism as a threat.
"He shed light on justice and racial justice early on, and that's a good thing," Mitchell told Vox. "Presidents have the most political capital early in their careers, and the things they do early send a signal about what they will do for the rest of their terms."
In his inaugural address, Biden also noted that it takes more than words to fix the country – it takes unity, a concept he has invoked many times over the past year, including after the police shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Riots broke out by Jacob Blake and when a pro-Trump mob raided the Capitol on Jan. 6.
But "Unity is a loaded word," Mitchell told Vox. “There are many things that we should unite, but the goal should never be unity. The goal should be justice. "
According to Mitchell, justice is relief to Covid-19 in the form of cash payments of $ 2,000 or the dismantling of white supremacy that, for example, does not unite with those who supported and facilitated an uprising in the Capitol. "I'm cautious when I hear 'unity' and 'bipartisanism' without clarity about the goal," said Mitchell.
In addition, Mitchell is waiting for federal agencies, regulators, and Congress to operationalize the government's agenda for racial justice to ensure that social justice for black communities is not narrowly divided in the criminal justice field but also extends to jobs, housing, and health , and more. "We assume that our movement must fill in the gaps and create a political urgency so that the political class can do what is necessary."
Mitchell supports the political positions set out in the BREATHE Act, created by the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation and the Black Lives Movement and introduced in Congress last fall. The law advocates specific measures such as divesting federal funds from the police and the prison system and investing those funds in community security and self-determination for black communities.
Mitchell knows the work will take time, but the urgency doesn't stop there. "Blacks have been waiting since we came to this continent, so one minute more is too much for us."
Biden's executive action is that more communication is necessary to achieve racial justice – and his team must actually listen to voters of the color across the country who helped elevate him to the highest office in the country.
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