Biden Executive Actions on Racial Equity Are Important First Steps

Media 01.26.21

January 26, 2021
Contact: Janessa Sambola-Harris, [email protected]

WASHINGTON Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights released the following statement in response to executive actions to begin remedying racial inequities signed today by President Joe Biden:

“With these first steps, President Biden has started on a meaningful path to address systemic racial injustice in crucial areas. While these executive actions are significant, make no mistake, much more work remains to be done. We must continue to substantively address systemic racism in all forms, including in the housing and financial sectors; completely end the use of abusive private prisons, including for immigration detention; and counter the white nationalism driving an increase in hate crimes. We look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to advance civil and human rights for every person in the United States.”

Background on ending unfair federal housing practices:

Marginalized communities, especially those of color, have suffered because of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s irresponsible attempts to weaken the Fair Housing Act and other protections. Progress has been set back for years, and promoting fair housing and opportunities for individuals and families is critically important. The Leadership Conference continues to advocate for more protections to address the systematic racism by housing providers, financial institutions, and insurance companies that deprive people of the services and opportunities they need.

Background on ending the use of private prisons by the DOJ:

While ending the Department of Justice’s use of private prisons is an important step in the right direction, most persons held in private prisons are in ICE detention centers. The Biden Administration must also end the use of private prisons for immigration detention by the Department of Homeland Security.  No one should make a profit off of the incarceration of human beings.  The Leadership Conference urges the administration to take more transformative steps to treat all communities that have been hurt by this system for far too long with respect and dignity.

Background on combating xenophobia against Asian American and Pacific Islanders:

President Biden’s memorandum establishes a policy that works specifically to prevent hate crimes and harassment against AAPIs, by ordering the Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force to issue guidance on cultural competency and ensure AAPI inclusion in the government’s COVID-19 response, and the Department of Justice to partner with AAPI communities to prevent hate crimes and discrimination. Further action is needed to end discriminatory investigations and prosecutions of AAPI and Asian immigrant scientists, researchers and students.

In December, The Leadership Conference released a list of priority initiatives for the Biden-Harris administration and the 117th Congress. The coalition priorities, available here, outline the current state of civil rights, offer recommendations that represent a path forward, and should be considered in developing administrative and legislative responses to community needs.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit