Every four years, presidential elections provide an opportunity for significant reassessment of White House and federal agency policies, priorities and personnel — and the prospect of collective work with a new Congress to make our nation more fair, just and equitable. But, in these times, it’s clear that the person sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2021 — whether they are the incumbent or challenger — will be confronted with a number of unprecedented, urgent challenges. The pandemic has had a starkly disproportionate impact on Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities — revealing staggering inequities in health care and housing, in the workplace, and in financial and educational systems. These dramatic racial disparities must be addressed.
At the same time, the killing of George Floyd and many other unarmed men and women of color by the police has driven thousands to sustained protests in the streets, energizing a decades-long movement calling not just for reform, but for a fundamental reimagining of policing and incarceration policies — and a deep reinvestment in community-based programs.
Clearly, it is not enough for the next Congress and administration to merely modify policies and regulations to expand rights and freedoms. They need to take immediate and aggressive steps to reimagine how we can truly become a more just and equitable nation.
In our presidential transition document, Vision for a Just Future, the SPLC and the SPLC Action Fund recommend bold, transformative actions designed to revitalize and fundamentally realign our nation to eliminate white nationalism, structural racism and historic inequalities; to remove unjust barriers to fundamental voting rights; to expand inclusive anti-discrimination protections; and to reinvigorate our values as a diverse, welcoming and compassionate nation.
The Vision outlines forward-looking, progressive actions to:
- Confront hate and build trust in democratic ideals;
- Promote a fair and equitable criminal justice system while working to end mass incarceration;
- Promote a just, humane and welcoming immigration system;
- Expand ballot access and eliminate discriminatory barriers to voting;
- Promote health, safety and fairness in the workplace, schools and communities; and
- Promote opportunity and combat discrimination in schools and in the workplace.
Importantly, these recommendations reflect the SPLC and SPLC Action’s perspectives on how best to address both national problems and the legacy of entrenched, systemic racism in the Southern states in which we primarily live and work.
During these deeply unsettling times, we have seen how much we rely on each other and the essential leadership role government must play in protecting our rights and well-being. Now is the time to build the kind of world we want, in which every person living in the United States can thrive.
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