January 27, 2021

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Statement on President Biden’s Actions to Advance Racial Equity

Washington, D.C.Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) released the following statement on President Biden’s executive actions addressing racial equity in housing, criminal justice, and public health:

“President Biden’s latest executive actions create a framework through which we can finally begin tackling meaningful equity reforms in issues that have only been made worse from the pandemic.

“For too long, the federal government has played a central role in creating unjust housing policies across the United States, from redlining to mortgage discrimination. President Biden’s executive actions direct the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to examine the effects of the Trump’s Administration’s actions that undermined fair housing policies and law and take steps to fully implement the Fair Housing Act's requirements.

“Additionally, we know that mass incarceration disproportionality impacts communities of color and low-income communities—which can become deadly during a public health crisis. I applaud President Biden’s effort to discontinue Department of Justice contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities as a first step toward reforming our justice system and ending the use of federal prisons.

“In order to live up to our country’s promise of equality for all, we also must advance racial justice for Native communities and to re-establishing federal respect for Tribal sovereignty. President Biden is delivering on this promise through engagement and consultation of federal agencies with Tribal governments.

“Finally, following the last four years and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, xenophobia, discrimination, and attacks against the Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community cannot be tolerated. President Biden has denounced anti-Asian discrimination and has directed the Department of Justice to prevent hate crimes against AAPIs. The administration has also directed the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance regarding cultural competency, language access, and sensitivity toward the AAPI community in order to best serve the needs of the community, consistent with my calls for culturally competent public health messengers to serve medically underserved communities during this pandemic.

“Hate, discrimination, and inequality have no place in our institutions. We have a long way to go to root out systemic racism and ensure equality for all, but President Biden’s bold actions today are an important first step. In the 116th Congress, I introduced legislation to establish a Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Commission with Senator Cory Booker to take a formal first step toward dismantling systemic racism, and I look forward to working with President Biden to expand and strengthen his racial equity agenda.”

To read more about President Biden’s executive actions, click here.