Biden must first face COVID-19, systemic racism: civil rights groups

Deborah Barfield Berry

| USA ma


WASHINGTON – It’s only weeks before the country’s leadership changes, with civil rights leaders and advocacy groups calling on President-elect Joe Biden to prioritize COVID-19, systemic racism, food insecurity and other issues that disproportionately affect color communities.

They also want to provide input as Biden crafts agenda, selects people to head key agencies, and holds top positions in the administration.

“The transition phase is perhaps one of the most important because it gives voice to how everything else will work,” said Derrick Johnson, president of the national NAACP. – We need to make sure there are the right sounds at the table.

In one year where protesters have called for racial justice in communities across the country and an epidemic has disproportionately affected black and Latin communities, civil rights leaders, advocates and legislators say there is an urgent need for the administration to listen to their concerns, and law. They hope Biden will indicate his priorities early and say the list should include it immigration changes, criminal justice reforms, accurate censuses and protection of voting rights.

– This is an important moment. Changing the tone is quite key. “said Eric Rodriguez, vice president of policy and advocacy for UnidosUS.” We’re getting exhausted.

Leaders of several national civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the National Urban League, were disappointed and asked for a meeting with Bidend three weeks ago to discuss issues such as the pandemic and his appointment.

“He’s talking about issues that concern black people the most,” said Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation, who asked for the meeting for one of the seven groups. – We have to be at the decision-making table. And diversity should be reflected from above, from the cabinet itself. Who runs the agencies? It all matters.

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He worked until his death: Latin agricultural workers have long been denied fundamental rights. COVID-19 has shown how deadly racism can be.

“Put the favor back” for the colored voters

Some members of Congress also said they were concerned about civil rights groups, which were key to seeking to participate in the vote, and were not included in discussions with Bidend.

Color voters were key to winning swing states such as Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

“Once you’ve topped up with champagne and all five … you need to make sure all the groups are around the table,” said Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House’s Homeland Security Committee.

“You have to give back the favor if you succeed with the people who took you there,” Thompson said. – This policy 101.

For civil rights groups and advocates, the top priority is to address COVID-19, which has disproportionately affected color communities.

Blacks, Spaniards, and Native Americans are four times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than whites and more. According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, it is almost 2.5 times more likely to die.

Colored people also suffered financially. Many work in the service industry, which they have covered. Many people work in healthcare and make them vulnerable to the new coronavirus.

Biden set up the COVID-19 advisory board earlier this month, and CNN said on Thursday it would ask Americans to wear a mask for 100 days.

Campbell, who spent three weeks in intensive care fighting COVID-19, advocates want to ensure that the administration not only handles this epidemic but is prepared for others as well.

“We need to be able to connect with this ongoing president-elect, whom we helped with the election,” he said.

Biden officials say the administration is building a diverse team to deliver on its promise of reflection America.

According to the census, Spaniards make up 18.5% of the nation’s population, blacks 13% and Asians 6%.

Biden recently named several colorful people among the best jobs, including Cedric Richmond, a D-La MP who will be a senior consultant, and Symone Sanders, who will be a senior assistant to the elected Vice President of Kamala Harris. Of the nine best white houses announced by Biden last month, three are filled with Latinos.

Biden officials also noted that about half of the cabinet positions advertised went to colorful people, including Alejandro Mayorkas, who was elected head of the Department of Homeland Security, and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who was appointed U.S. ambassador to the United States. Nations.

Ohio MP Marcia Fudge, a Democrat and former president of Congressional Black Caucasus, said that while the focus is on Biden’s cabinet, more colorful people need to be considered in other high-level positions.

“I don’t think we should be brought back to a government area,” he said.

Some high-ranking members of the House of Representatives, including James Clyburn of South Carolina’s majority whip, have appointed Fudge to a cabinet post, including the Secretary of Agriculture. “It would be a great addition to the administration,” Thompson said.

Press to address systemic racism

Earlier this month, the Congressional Asia-Pacific American Caucasus also called on Biden to involve Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in his cabinet and administration. Some of the proposals were made by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang as trade secretary.

Biden announced this week Neera Tanden, a South Asian American who heads the White House Administration and Budget Office.

In a letter to Biden’s transition team on Wednesday, the congressional Spanish Caucasus called on the administration to consider California Attorney General Xavier Becerra or Tom Perez, chairman of the National Democratic Commission, as the U.S. Attorney General. The House of Representatives practically met Biden’s transition team on Thursday.

“We look forward to working with President-elect Biden to gather the most diverse administrations in American history,” the board said in retrospect.

UnidosUS and others are urging Biden to fill at least 20% of top jobs and appointments with Latin candidates.

“We need to put people in positions of power and influence who understand our community,” Rodriguez said.

Featuring: Nicholas Wu, John Fritze, Courtney Subramanian

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