Now that Joe Biden is the president of the United States of America and Kamala Harris is the very first Black, South Asian and female vice president, many are hopeful that America’s racist nightmare is now over. Yes, it is true that Trump, one of the worst presidents we’ve ever had, is officially no longer the leader of this country. However, Trump leaving and Biden and Harris stepping in doesn’t automatically remove the damage that he caused during his presidency. Trump exploited the division in this country and created a huge cult following, which is going to present a challenge to Biden and Harris.
Biden made history yesterday when he became the first president to address White supremacy in an inaugural speech. During his address, he discussed the issues he considers to be priorities. Those priorities include climate change, Covid-19, racial justice and domestic extremism. “The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer,” Biden said during his speech. “The cry for survival comes from the planet itself. A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.”
On day one Biden has already followed through with some of his priorities. Hours after taking oath, Biden signed an executive order rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. This move was a campaign promise and comes after Trump removed the U.S. from the accord because he didn’t believe climate change was a serious issue.
Biden has also issued a mask mandate that requires people to wear masks in federal buildings and during interstate travel. He has vowed to take on a more aggressive approach when tackling the virus, unlike his predecessor. According to Johns Hopkins University, the Covid-19 death toll has reached over 400 thousand and more than 24 million people have been infected with the virus.
Certainly we can all agree that it’s great that Biden has already taken measures to address climate change and Covid- 19. However, the Black people are expecting a lot more to come from the Biden Administration. The community doesn’t want to see a repeat of the trauma that has taken place over the last eight years. For instance, we’ve seen enough cases of unarmed Black men, women, boys and girls being murdered by police who then aren’t held responsible for their actions. In 2020, a year marked by police brutality and protests, ended with news that the Department of Justice was closing the Tamir Rice case. Rice, a 12-year-old boy, was killed on November 22, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio when someone reported that a man was at a recreation center with a gun. Within seconds of arriving on the scene, officers opened fire, killing rice immediately. On December 29, 2020, the DOJ decided it would not hold the officers responsible for killing Rice because the video of the incident wasn’t clear.
Black people are exhausted and tired of hearing the same thing repeatedly and feeling like Black lives don’t matter. Although the Trump administration set the bar low for not doing much of anything for BIPOC, we will closely monitor Biden’s presidency to see if and how the issue of racism is tackled in this country, and how he plans to use his position to elevate the Black community.