Contact: Shin Inouye, [email protected], 202.869.0398

WASHINGTON – Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the below statement following President Biden’s first State of the Union address:

“While the state of our union is strong, the state of our civil and human rights must be stronger. President Biden took office during a global pandemic and in the wake of an armed insurrection. Despite those circumstances, it is undeniable that the Biden-Harris administration has made much progress on its agenda — but much more needs to be done. The right to vote remains under attack, the criminal-legal system and policing practices need reform, discriminatory algorithmic decision-making continues to harm marginalized communities, and systemic racism and violent hate remain a devastating reality.

“But there is reason for hope. One of President Biden’s first acts in office was to issue an executive order on racial equity. We also welcome his elevation tonight of the need to protect voting rights by passing the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act; to protect reproductive rights; to pass the Equality Act, PRO Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, paid leave, and the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act; to raise the minimum wage and extend the child tax credit; to hold police officers accountable; to expand affordable access to child care, housing, higher education, broadband, and health care; and to make our immigration system more humane. We also join the president in urging the Senate to swiftly confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first Black woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to strengthen the civil and human rights of every person in our great country.”

The Leadership Conference on Monday released “Civil and Human Rights Progress Report: The Biden-Harris Administration and the 117th Congress,” a review of the first year of both the Biden-Harris administration and 117th Congress. The report documents the progress made and the issues still yet to be adequately addressed, per the organization’s transition priorities released after the 2020 election.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 230 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