February 16, 2023
February 16, 2023—Race Forward, a national racial justice organization, congratulates the Biden Administration on the issue of its second historic Executive Order mandating racial equity across policy and practice within the federal government, Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The significance of this Executive Order cannot be overstated as it is the first time in our nation’s history we have a formal, sustained commitment to institutionalize racial equity at the national level. The order recognizes that this work is a multigenerational commitment to the American people.
“As an organization that has been working to advance racial equity in our policies and institutions for more than 40 years, we commend the Biden Administration on this second commitment to embed racial equity within the federal government,” said Glenn Harris, President of Race Forward. “This Executive Order will operationalize racial equity in federal policies and practices, resulting in significantly improved outcomes for all communities, and particularly communities of color, in this nation.
We applaud the steadfast commitment of the Biden Administration as demonstrated by this Executive Order. For two years, the Administration has taken these steps in the face of backlash against progress for racial justice, white nationalists violence, and political assaults. It is fitting that this order was issued during Black History month at the very moment extremist Governors are seeking to prevent even the teaching of Black History. The attacks on Black History are a bellwether for ongoing assaults on our collective history across communities.
The Executive Order calls for a sustained commitment—human and economic resources—to racial equity work, accurate data for government decisions, increased investment in small, disadvantaged businesses in underserved communities, and consulting impacted communities in developing solutions to inequity. It also recognizes that racial inequity is interlinked with inequity based on gender, disability, environmental injustice and more.
“By issuing this second Executive Order, the Biden Administration is doubling-down and sending a clear signal that racial equity is a priority.” said Carlton Eley, Senior Director of Federal Strategies at Race Forward. “Equally important, the Administration is demonstrating that racial equity is imperative for our country to move forward as a strong nation.”
As the home of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), we are keenly aware that this historic order emerges from almost 20 years of work by local governments in cities and counties across the country.
“When we started GARE we realized the potential for government to lead on racial equity and ensure all residents have opportunities to achieve successful outcomes,” said Julie Nelson, Senior Vice President of Programs at Race Forward and Co-founder of GARE. “As we have been gathering momentum at the local level, we have also begun to experience pushback from extremists. It is reassuring to see the federal government take on this charge to sustain and further the gains that have been made in many local jurisdictions across this country.”
Racial equity work improves outcomes not only for communities of color, but for all communities, and it strengthens our systems for all by transforming how government operate. This, in turn, creates the foundation for the multiracial democracy we need for all neighborhoods and communities to thrive.
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About Race Forward
Race Forward was founded in 1981 and brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity. Working to build community and narrative power, Race Forward strives to advance racial equity across all sections. Race Forward is home to the Government Alliance on Race and Equity and Colorlines.