Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress looks at the progress the Biden administration has made in advancing racial equity in its first year and lays out a road map to bend the arc of racial justice toward equity in the coming years.
On day one of his administration, President Joe Biden issued a historic executive order calling for a “whole-of-government equity agenda that matches the scale of the opportunities and challenges that we face.” Since then, the government has made important progress in enacting policies that advance racial equity, many of which have not garnered great attention.
The CAP report focuses on four broad policy areas: 1) restoring trust in America’s justice and political systems; 2) forging a more equitable economy; 3) promoting health equity; and 4) advancing environmental justice. It gives an overview of the administration’s actions in each area as well as recommendations for high-priority policies for the administration’s second year and beyond.
The report highlights dozens of accomplishments, including:
- Reforming federal law enforcement practices by banning chokeholds, placing restrictions on federal no-knock warrants, and requiring body cameras for executing federal search warrants
- Ensuring that American Rescue Plan funds reached historically marginalized communities, including lifting 2.3 million Black children, 4.1 million Latino children, and 441,000 Asian American children closer to or above the poverty line through the expanded child tax credit
- Addressing long-standing inequities in the health system by locating COVID-19 vaccination sites in communities of color and closing the vaccination gaps for Black and Hispanic people
- Making a historic commitment to direct 40 percent of the administration’s climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities through its Justice40 program
It also discusses numerous policies that the Biden administration should prioritize to continue to bend the arc, including:
- Working with Congress to pass meaningful voting rights and criminal legislation, while also taking additional executive actions to reform law enforcement
- Developing and training a diverse and inclusive workforce, as well as guaranteeing paid family leave, subsidized child care, and universal pre-K programs for all
- Addressing the social determinants of health by providing safe and affordable housing; creating access to quality education; building transportation and digital infrastructure; expanding opportunity for employment and good wages; developing access to healthy food; and creating safe environmental and community conditions
- Developing public data to track environmental justice projects and ensure its bold commitments are met
“The vast racial inequities that exist today are the result of 400 years of systematic policy choices at every level of government,” said Nicole Lee Ndumele, senior vice president for Rights and Justice at CAP and co-author of the report. “The Biden administration has made important strides in honoring its day one commitment on racial equity. Still, the work is so great that it will take a sustained commitment to create an America that truly lives up to its ideal of providing every citizen an opportunity to thrive. The Biden administration, and the administrations that follow, must continue to make advancing racial equity central to their agenda and a consideration for every policy they enact.”
Read the report: “Advancing Equity: Review of the Biden Administration’s Efforts in Its First Year To Implement a Racial Equity Agenda” by Nicole Lee Ndumele, Lorena Roque, and Justin Dorazio
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.
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