On his first day in office, President Joe Biden moved to both erase the white supremacist legacy of the previous White House and address injustices that existed long before Donald Trump came to power.
“A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer,” Biden said in his inaugural speech. Racial justice is one of the administration’s top priorities, alongside the pandemic and the economy, he said.
Later in the day, Biden issued an executive order on “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government” to put his pledge into action. The order received scant attention amid a wave of actions from the White House, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. It has the potential to advance the cause of racial justice on several key fronts.
On Tuesday, Biden issued four more executive orders around racial justice: directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to “redress racially discriminatory housing policies,” scaling back the federal government’s reliance on private prisons, condemning anti-Asian racism and underscoring the administration’s commitment to Native American tribal sovereignty, as Reuters reports.
“In the weeks ahead, I’ll be reaffirming the federal government’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and accessibility, building on the work we started in the Obama-Biden administration,” Biden said Tuesday.
On top of the executive order, the White House’s push to raise the minimum wage would have outsize effects on African Americans, helping to narrow the black-white income gap.
And there’s symbolic change, too: a diverse administration that includes the country’s first Black and Indian American vice president. Biden’s Cabinet is the most racially diverse in history.
Even the currency may get an update: On Monday, the White House announced it’s taking steps to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill ―...