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On Thursday, the Biden Administration announced over a hundred practical and necessary steps soon to be implemented to address and overcome barriers to access for U.S. citizens of all backgrounds.
For instance, The Justice Department is improving language access to its functions and programs to assist people with limited English proficiency to better report crimes, per ABC NEWS.
Additionally, the Interior Department will provide technical assistance to Native American tribes applying for grants. The Energy Department is helping low-income households access programs to weatherize their homes and save energy.
The Defense Department aims to reduce internal algorithmic bias by investing in the development of a more diverse AI workforce and working with historically Black colleges and universities.
A Campaign Promise Biden Actually Intends to Keep
The order was the first of its kind by a president, said Chiraag Bains, deputy assistant to the president for racial justice and equity.
“Equity Action Plans” offered across the Government, but whom will benefit most?
After more than a year of review, over 90 federal agencies, including all major Cabinet departments, the Biden White House released “equity action plans” on Thursday.
The plans outline more than 300 strategies and commitments that aim to make federal policies fairer for everyone, including poorer communities and communities of color; tribal, rural, and LGBTQ communities; and people with disabilities and women and girls.
Will this help Black folks?
While Pres. Biden and his best-laid plans seem to offer equity for all under the sun, those enriched with melanin will have to wait and see if these idealistic plans manifest fully.
During the aftermath of George Floyd, many companies, non-profits, politicians, and governments swore they’d seen the light and had a racial reckoning, seeing Black people for who we are and meeting us where we were at.
Yet over time, we’ve seen the waves of progress come and go as many have moved on from the plights we detailed in 2020 and now operate business-as-usual.
Black is Black, not BIPOC.
In America it seems whenever we’re driving, walking, birdwatching, having a cookout, hailing a NYC taxi, applying for jobs, or home loans we’re quickly identified as Black, yet when it’s time for federal assistance we magically turn into Communities of color.
When Black people say “ouch,” why does the government ask everyone else “what’s wrong?” In 2020, we “ouched” our hearts out in protests from sea to shining sea, and in response, many communities have done their part to fill in the gaps that once existed. Yet federally, we remain stuffed into a generic box that aims to see everyone as equal, without acknowledging our unique differences.
Biden’s diverse staff is unlike any other before it… and?
Biden, a Democrat, has one of the most diverse Cabinets, with Black and Hispanic people leading major departments, including Defense, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Some of the equity plans have been announced, such as work by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to close the racial gap in homeownership, address disproportionate rates of homelessness among underserved communities and reduce bias in home appraisals.
Strategies such as this will surely help some Black Americans who struggle with first-time homeownership and working with HBCUs is a good – albeit late – start for the Defense Dept. Yet, American history and the present has created a thick layer of skepticism that Biden won’t easily penetrate until widespread change is seen and felt.