Details By Levi Rickert February 18, 2023
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) on Friday hailed President Biden’s new executive order addressing racial inequality in underserved communities.
President Joe Biden on Thursday signed a new executive order titled “The federal government’s continued advancement of racial justice and support for underserved communities.”
The executive order is designed to remove systemic barriers that prevent communities of color from thriving.
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“The President’s decision to sign the executive order to strengthen racial justice and support for underserved communities across the federal government builds on a number of initiatives over the past several years to increase Indigenous people’s access to the programs, opportunities and services which many are taking advantage of,” NCAI President Fawn Sharp (Quinault Indian Nation) said in a statement to Native News Online on Friday.
“The NCAI stands ready and willing to continue working with the government and Congress to maximize these opportunities – and others like them – to bring about meaningful and lasting positive change for our people,” Sharp said.
Thursday’s executive order is the president’s second policy aimed at addressing racial inequality. Biden signed Executive Order 13985 on his first day in office, which directed funding for places like tribes and historically black colleges and universities and programs to fill racial gaps in employment and housing opportunities.
Despite limited success, Biden believes the federal government needs to do a better job of addressing racial inequality.
“Members of underserved communities — many of whom have endured generations of discrimination and divestment — still face significant obstacles to realizing the full promise of our great nation, and the federal government has a responsibility to remove those obstacles,” Biden said in one Explanation.
The new executive order requires federal agencies to create annual plans outlining what steps they will take to “remove the barriers that underserved communities may face in accessing and benefiting from the agency’s guidelines.” .
The executive order states that “achieving racial justice and support for underserved communities is not a one-off project. It has to be a cross-generational commitment, and it has to remain the responsibility of the organizations nationwide.”
The order defines underserved communities as follows: Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American, Asian American, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander and other people of color; members of religious minorities; women and girls; LGBTQI+ people; persons with disabilities; people living in rural areas; persons residing in the territories of the United States; and those otherwise affected by persistent poverty or inequality.
“It is imperative to reject the narrow, cramped zero-sum view of America’s opportunities,” Biden said. “When an individual or community is denied liberty, dignity and prosperity, our entire nation is held back. But when we uplift each other, we are all uplifted.”
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