Washington, DC — Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, issued the following statement on today’s announcement by the incoming Biden/Harris administration on efforts to promote racial justice throughout the government:
“Our nation is facing an extraordinary crisis in racial justice. Coronavirus is harming Black and Brown communities at staggering rates due to longstanding disparities in healthcare and our economy. Police violence against Black people is at an epidemic level. And the Oval Office was just occupied by someone who championed white supremacy and bigotry.
This moment requires bold and meaningful action to end systemic racism. For that reason, we have called upon the Biden administration to create a Cabinet position to focus exclusively on racial justice. We can no longer afford a piecemeal approach or to address these issues solely through civil rights offices. We must identify strategies for coordinating and deploying all levers of the federal government to tackle structural inequality. That includes recognizing that institutional racism was once dictated by federal policy and determining how federal agencies are still reinforcing inequality and impeding progress toward meaningful opportunity for all.
We are elated that the Biden administration has appointed Dr. Susan Rice to lead this august challenge. From her position within the White House, she can formulate and coordinate actions among cabinet members to eliminate systemic racism, root and branch, from within the government and ensure racial justice is at the forefront of every agency’s agenda. Given this momentous task, Dr. Rice will require substantial resources and personnel to help her fulfill this critical role.
Addressing racial justice will be the most vexing challenge facing this new administration. It will require a herculean effort to eliminate the institutional barriers throughout the government that still perpetuate racial inequality. With this announcement today, the Biden/Harris administration is off to a strong start to transforming our nation into a more just, equal society. And it can count on the NAACP’s support every step of the way.”
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP.
NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.