On his first day in office, President Biden signed Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. That Order emphasized the enormous human costs of systemic racism and persistent poverty, and provided a powerful and unprecedented mandate for all federal agencies to launch a whole-of-government approach to equity. Over the past two years, agencies have taken historic steps toward ensuring that federal programs are serving the American people in an equitable and just manner and supporting communities that have been locked out of opportunity. Through the implementation of landmark legislation and historic executive action, the Biden-Harris Administration is working to make real the promise of America for everyone—including rural communities, communities of color, Tribal communities, LGBTQI+ individuals, people with disabilities, women and girls, and communities impacted by persistent poverty.
Despite the meaningful progress that the Biden-Harris Administration has made, the reality is that underserved communities—many of whom have endured generations of discrimination and disinvestment—still confront unacceptable barriers to equal opportunity and the American Dream. It is imperative that we reject the narrow, cramped view of American opportunity as a zero-sum game. When any segment of society is denied the full promise of America, our entire Nation is held back. But when we lift each other up, we are all lifted up. As the President has said: “Advancing equity is not a one-year project. It’s a generational commitment.”
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