Biden Says George Floyd’s Death Marked a Turning Point Toward Racial Justice

Date: 2021-01-26 20:35:23

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Following through on his campaign promise of making combating racial injustice a central focus of his presidency, President Joe Biden signed a series of orders and memorandums Tuesday.

“Now is the time to act, ” on racial justice Biden said, before signing the orders.

Throughout his campaign and transition, Biden promised that his administration would keep issues of equity — as well as climate change, another issue he views as an existential crisis — in the shaping of all policy considerations.

Biden has spent the first days of his presidency issuing a barrage of executive orders and directives addressing the coronavirus pandemic and dismantling some of former President Donald Trump’s key initiatives. But under a carefully sketched-out plan revealed before his inauguration, aides said he would seek to turn the spotlight on equity during his first full week in office.

Biden ordered the Department of Justice to end its reliance on private prisons and acknowledge the central role the government has played in implementing discriminatory housing policies.

The new orders will recommit the federal government to respect tribal sovereignty and disavow discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community over the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden will also direct the Department of Housing and Urban Development to take steps necessary to promote equitable housing policy.

The order to end the reliance on privately run prisons directs the attorney general not to renew Justice Department contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities. The move will effectively revert the Justice Department to the same posture it held at the end of the Obama administration.

The order highlighting xenophobia against Asian Americans is in large part a reaction to what a senior administration official called “offensive and dangerous” rhetoric from the Trump administration that Biden believes need to be addressed. Trump, throughout the pandemic, repeatedly used xenophobic language in public comments when referring to the coronavirus.

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