Cheryl Cato Blakemore
Sr. Dir., Strategic Communications
RACE FORWARD HAILS “NEW ERA” IN ADDRESSING RACIAL INEQUITY
Renews call for Biden Administration to Establish Office on Racial Equity & Inclusion and Commends Revocation of Executive Order 13950
January 21, 2021 (New York, New York) — Joseph R. Biden was inaugurated yesterday as the 46th President of the United States, and took immediate actions to further racial equity in 17 executive actions and proposed legislation which will reverse policies of the outgoing President.
Race Forward Chief of Staff Rachael DeCruz commended the actions. “We welcome President Biden’s actions on the coronavirus pandemic, immigration reform, housing justice, environmental justice, and racial justice,” DeCruz said. “They are a step in the right direction, marking a new era in this country.”
Race Forward also reiterated its call for the Biden administration to commit to creating a White House Office on Racial Equity & Inclusion.
Julie Nelson, Race Forward Senior Vice President of Programs said, “A White House Racial Equity & Inclusion Office will elevate the vital work of racial justice so desperately needed at this critical juncture in our nation’s history. It will also signal how the Administration will center racial justice in all of its policies, programs and decisions on racial justice issues important to not just African Americans and other communities of color who turned out in record numbers to elect Biden and Harris, but to white people as well.”
Biden’s announced actions include :
- Racial Equity: executive actions that revoke the Trump Administration’s Executive Order 13950, prohibiting racial justice work in training and workshops, direct federal agencies to ensure racial equity within their policies, prevent workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and rescind the Trump Administration’s 1776 Commission;
Coronavirus: a plan to address the pandemic, which has left more than 400,000 dead, disproportionately impacting Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Pacific Islander, and other communities of color; and a legislative package to provide immediate relief to millions of unemployed people and those paying student loans.
Immigration: executive actions to urge Congress to give 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. a path to citizenship in as little as eight years, undo the Muslim Ban, end the exclusion of the counting of undocumented people in the Census, halt construction of the border wall, and reverse restrictions on refugees and asylum seekers;
Housing Justice: executive actions to extend a foreclosure moratorium for federally backed mortgages and an eviction moratorium for renters; and
Environmental Justice: executive actions to rejoin the Paris climate accord within 30 days, cancel the Keystone XL pipeline (which had launched the indigenous peoples-led Standing Rock demonstrations), and reverse more than 100 Trump actions on the environment.
“These actions remedy not just recent, but historic inequities,” said DeCruz. “Government policies laid the original groundwork for the creation of systemic racism. Americans have spoken - in the streets and at the polls - and demand that our government address racial discrimination at its core by establish new policies that dismantle old, harmful systems, and creating new ones, centered in racial equity, that will improve life for everyone.”
Since September 2020, Race Forward has pushed for the rescinding of the Trump Administration’s Executive Order 13950, which banned racial justice work in government. At the Facing Race national conference in November, Race Forward launched a #BannedWords campaign, elevating phrases such as “systemic racism,” “unconscious bias”, and “intersectionality” that the EO 13950 banned from federal government training, workshops, and discussions. More than 1,700 people visited the campaign site to download resources and share their stories on social media, using #BannedWords.
Trump’s order was effectively halted on December 22, 2020, by a court ruling by the Northern District of California, and rescinded by Biden’s executive actions yesterday.
“Trump’s attempt to end racial justice work in government has failed,” said DeCruz. “Now is the time for President Biden to make good on his promise to advance racial equity, and lead the country forward boldly towards a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy.
Founded in 1981, Race Forward catalyzes movement building for racial justice. In partnership with communities, organizations, and sectors, we build strategies to advance racial justice in our policies, institutions, and culture. Race Forward is home to the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. Race Forward publishes the daily news site Colorlines and presents Facing Race, the largest multi-racial, multi-generational conference on racial justice in the U.S.