Opportunities in 2021
The strong and early plan and commitment by the Biden administration to elevate racial justice as a top priority has sent a powerful message about its importance and centrality within this administration.
As the nation calls for an end to structural disparities, the federal government has a duty to examine its own house to determine how it still perpetuates and fosters institutional racism.
The NAACP recommends the Biden Administration implement the following policies:
Racial Equity, Opportunity and Transformation
- Create a Cabinet-level position focused on Racial Justice. President Biden should create the position of National Advisor on Racial Justice, Equity and Advancement as an Assistant to the President with an office fully resourced and staffed to accomplish its mission. Read more.
- Cancel Student Debt. President Biden should direct the Secretary of Education to cancel all student debt.
- Fully Cover Unemployment Insurance Through Federal Funding. President Biden should include funding for the establishment of a Federal Unemployment Insurance System in his first budget proposal.
- Implement a Federal Minimum Wage. President Biden can issue an Executive Order raising the minimum wage for all federal contractors to $15.00/hour, indexed for inflation.
- Implement Universal Paid Sick Leave. President Biden can call on Congress to pass legislation extending the paid sick leave benefits of President Obama’s Executive Order 13706 to all Americans.
- Increase Funding for Minority-Serving CDFIs/MCDFIs. President Biden should request a 40% increase in funding for the CDFI Fund for CDFIs and require 40% of all CDFI Fund awards be designated for minority-serving CDFIs.
- Institute a Direct Minority Business Contracting Requirement for all Federal Agencies. The Biden Administration should institute a direct minority business contracting requirement for all federal agencies of 20%.
- Reverse the Racist Housing Policies of the Last Four Years and Beyond. President Biden should direct the Housing and Urban Development Secretary to create a down payment assistance fund to increase homeownership rates for Black households and reverse the July 23, 2020 rule repealing the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule.
- Support Black Workers and Incentivize Diverse and Inclusive Hiring and Promotion Practices. The Biden administration should establish policies that close the wage gap between Black and white wage earners and give equal attention to addressing the gender pay gap.
- Remove Police From Schools and Restrict the Role of Law Enforcement in Schools. President Biden should call for the reallocation of funding for school resource officers to intervention and restorative supports for children.
Environmental Climate Justice
- Prioritize Opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs in the Green Economy. President Biden should expand on the Environmental Justice Interagency Directive (Presidential Executive Order 12898) to ensure that racial justice is defined to include equitable distribution of quality access as we shift away from a fossil fuel economy.
- Moratoria on Energy Shut-Offs Should Not be a Stop Gap Measure. President Biden should direct the Secretary of Energy to impose a moratorium on energy shut-offs.
Health and Wellbeing
- Audit Federal Efforts to Promote Health Equity. President Biden should order a Cabinet-level audit of all federal agencies to strengthen their civil rights and health equity efforts in implementing federal policies and programs.
- Conduct Robust Vaccine Education and Ensure Equitable Vaccine Distribution. President Biden should order the Health and Human Services Secretary to develop and disseminate an education and outreach campaign and a vaccine distribution plan that provides clear, comprehensive, and culturally meaningful information about vaccines and therapeutics prior to their widespread distribution.
- Guarantee Health Care For All. President Biden should call for a guarantee of health care for all in his first Budget proposal.
Reconstructing Criminal Justice
- Accelerate Compassionate Release in Federal Prisons. President Biden should accelerate compassionate release consideration of all federal prisoners over the age of 60 and order the immediate release of as many people as possible.
- Address Racial Violence by Police and Impose National Accountability Standards. President Biden should call on the Attorney General to prohibit federal grants to police agencies without the policies, training, and databases in place.
- Boldly and Urgently Transform the Federal Judiciary. President Biden must develop and execute a vision and strategy for securing strong, diverse representation on the courts for decades to come that includes civil rights lawyers.
- Fully Resource Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Programs. President Biden must call on Congress to fund local communities to respond to resident’s mental health and substance abuse needs.
- Reform Federal Prosecutorial Standards to Eliminate Racial Disparities. President Biden must direct the Attorney General to instruct federal prosecutors to refrain from engaging in practices that lead to higher sentences, such as seeking sentencing enhancements or life without the possibility of parole for young people.
Voting Rights and Election Reform
- Enhance the VRA. President Biden should encourage Congress to restore Section 4(b) preclearance provisions.