Showing posts with label President Biden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label President Biden. Show all posts

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Statement by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden on the Passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden released the following statement on the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

On this morning after Christmas, we are heartbroken to learn of the passing of a true servant of God and of the people, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

We were blessed to spend time with him on several occasions over the past many years. His courage and moral clarity helped inspire our commitment to change American policy toward the repressive Apartheid regime in South Africa. We felt his warmth and joy when we visited him during the 2010 World Cup that celebrated the diversity and beauty of his beloved nation. And, just a few months ago, we joined the world in celebrating his 90th birthday and reflecting on the power of his message of justice, equality, truth, and reconciliation as we confront racism and extremism in our time today.

Born to a school teacher and a laundress and into poverty and entrenched racial segregation, Desmond Tutu followed his spiritual calling to create a better, freer, and more equal world. His legacy transcends borders and will echo throughout the ages.

On behalf of the Biden family, we send our deepest condolences to his wife Leah and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And on behalf of the people of the United States, we send our deepest condolences to the people of South Africa who are mourning the loss of one of their most important founding fathers.

May God bless Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Monday, May 31, 2021

President Biden Proclamation on 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre

A Proclamation on Day Of Remembrance: 100 Years After The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

One hundred years ago, a violent white supremacist mob raided, firebombed, and destroyed approximately 35 square blocks of the thriving Black neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Families and children were murdered in cold blood. Homes, businesses, and churches were burned. In all, as many as 300 Black Americans were killed, and nearly 10,000 were left destitute and homeless. Today, on this solemn centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, I call on the American people to reflect on the deep roots of racial terror in our Nation and recommit to the work of rooting out systemic racism across our country.

Before the Tulsa Race Massacre, Greenwood was a thriving Black community that had grown into a proud economic and cultural hub. At its center was Greenwood Avenue, commonly known as Black Wall Street. Many of Greenwood’s 10,000 residents were Black sharecroppers who fled racial violence after the Civil War.

In the decades following the Civil War and Reconstruction, Greenwood became a place where Black Americans were able to make a new start and secure economic progress despite the continued pain of institutional and overt racism. The community was home to a growing number of prominent Black entrepreneurs as well as working-class Black families who shared a commitment to social activism and economic opportunity. As Greenwood grew, Greenwood Avenue teemed with successful Black-owned businesses, including restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, and offices for doctors, lawyers, and dentists. The community also maintained its own school system, post office, a savings and loan institution, hospital, and bus and taxi service.

Despite rising Jim Crow systems and the reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan, Greenwood’s economic prosperity grew, as did its citizens’ demands for equal rights. This made the community a source of pride for many Black Americans. It also made the neighborhood and its families a target of white supremacists. In 2 days, a violent mob tore down the hard-fought success of Black Wall Street that had taken more than a decade to build.

In the years that followed, the destruction caused by the mob was followed by laws and policies that made recovery nearly impossible. In the aftermath of the attack, local ordinances were passed requiring new construction standards that were prohibitively expensive, meaning many Black families could not rebuild. Later, Greenwood was redlined by mortgage companies and deemed “hazardous” by the Federal Government so that Black homeowners could not access home loans or credit on equal terms. And in later decades, Federal investment, including Federal highway construction, tore down and cut off parts of the community. The attack on Black families and Black wealth in Greenwood persisted across generations.

The Federal Government must reckon with and acknowledge the role that it has played in stripping wealth and opportunity from Black communities. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to acknowledging the role Federal policy played in Greenwood and other Black communities and addressing longstanding racial inequities through historic investments in the economic security of children and families, programs to provide capital for small businesses in economically disadvantaged areas, including minority-owned businesses, and ensuring that infrastructure projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access.

A century later, the fear and pain from the devastation of Greenwood is still felt. As Viola Fletcher, a 107-year-old survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre courageously testified before the Congress recently, “I will never forget the violence of the white mob when we left our home. I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street. I still smell smoke and see fire. I still see Black businesses being burned. I still hear airplanes flying overhead. I hear the screams. I have lived through the massacre every day. Our country may forget this history, but I cannot.”

With this proclamation, I commit to the survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre, including Viola Fletcher, Hughes Van Ellis, and Lessie Benningfield Randle, the descendants of victims, and to this Nation that we will never forget. We honor the legacy of the Greenwood community, and of Black Wall Street, by reaffirming our commitment to advance racial justice through the whole of our government, and working to root out systemic racism from our laws, our policies, and our hearts.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 31, 2021, a Day of Remembrance: 100 Years After The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. I call upon the people of the United States to commemorate the tremendous loss of life and security that occurred over those 2 days in 1921, to celebrate the bravery and resilience of those who survived and sought to rebuild their lives again, and commit together to eradicate systemic racism and help to rebuild communities and lives that have been destroyed by it.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

President Biden urges Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act

In pre-taped remarks at the Martin & Coretta Scott King Unity Breakfast which was held on the anniversary the march in Selma, President Biden urged Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

...I also urge Congress to fully restore the Voting Rights Act, named in John Lewis’ honor.

Today, on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, I am signing an executive order to make it easier for eligible voters to register to vote and improve access to voting. Every eligible voter should be able to vote and have that vote counted. If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide. Let the people vote.

I’ll close with this – a few days before he passed, Jill and I spoke with John, Congressman Lewis.

But instead of answering our concerns about him, “how are you doing, John,” he asked us to stay focused on the work left undone to heal and to unite this nation around what it means to be an American.

That’s the God’s truth. John wouldn’t talk about his pending death or his concerns. He said we just got to get this done.

That we are all created equal. That we all deserve to be treated equally.

On this day of reflection, please, let’s stay focused on the work ahead.

Let’s remember all those who came before us as a bridge to our history so we do not forget its pain, and as a bridge to our future so we never lose our hope.

May God bless their memory. May God bless you all.