With President Joe Biden getting more comfortable in his new position as commander-in-chief, Black lawmakers are rallying together to urge Biden to deliver on their political agenda for the Black community.
On Tuesday, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) headed to the White House to meet privately with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris about their legislative vision, USA Today reports. The meeting comes amid heightened racial tension in the country following the latest police shooting in a Minneapolis suburb on Sunday as well as an uptick in anti-Asian hate crimes.
“We had an amazing meeting where we were able to share our thoughts and ideas, but we also came because we know there will be challenges,” said Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. “This has been a tough week for us,” she added, in reference to the recent deaths of Rep. Alcee Hastings and U.S. Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans.
“And yet we also know that another unarmed Black man was shot and killed. Too many senseless deaths,” she said in regard to the recent police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Beatty noted how police brutality and the COVID-19 pandemic were on the list of topics discussed during the meeting.
“With the vaccine, you are seeing hesitancy, but you are also seeing a lack of education and distribution,” said Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich. “We are trying to use all of our bully platforms … to let our community know that to live and fight this virus, we need all of you to come and get it. We must do this to keep our community strong and alive,” she added.
Other topics on the meeting agenda included voting rights and inequities in education, environmental protection, healthcare, affordable housing, and nutritious food. Ahead of the meeting, Biden spoke with reporters in the Oval Office where he shared hopes of delivering “real change,” The Hill reports. “Every single aspect of our government including every agency has a primary focus of dealing with equity. It’s not a joke,” he explained.
The meeting included nearly a dozen CBC members, including Chairwoman Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Rep. Brenda Lawrence, (D-Mich), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.). Vice President Harris and White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond were the two caucus alums present at the meeting.