Evaluation for Progress: Report on the Biden Harris Administration

On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. His first executive order on his first day in office, EO 13985 declared “Equal opportunity is the bedrock of American democracy, and our diversity is one of our country’s greatest strengths.” Acknowledging “the unbearable human costs of systemic racism,” the order made an unprecedented commitment to tackle inequality: “Affirmatively advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunity is the responsibility of the whole of our Government.” President Biden required every agency to assess its policies and programs for barriers to Black Americans and other underserved communities, and to develop concrete strategies to deliver resources and benefits equitably.

No president had ever done this before. By putting equity at the center of his administration, President Biden committed that it would shape the legislation, regulations, federal investments, and agency actions his administration championed. As explained in detail below, that commitment has resulted in meaningful policy changes for Black Americans across economic opportunity, education, health care, criminal justice, housing, the environment, and civil rights protections. Parts of President Biden’s equity agenda, unfortunately, have been blocked by Congress and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court. These barriers are also discussed below.

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Project Code

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Project CODE's (Collaborative Organizations to End Domestic Extremism) partners congratulate the National Urban League's legacy of releasing The State of Black America report since 1976 and bringing prescient issues to the public square! Research confirms that those who weaponize hate specifically target marginalized and minority communities, including the Black, Latino, American Indian, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities, communities of color, religious minorities, and the LGBTQ community. Project CODE seeks to provide information and collaboration to extend allyship across organizations.

Two years after the extreme violence of January 6th, 2021, was displayed in front of the world, deep stains and scars remain. It is essential to acknowledge that for centuries before that day, communities have faced persistent and evolving political violence, disenfranchisement, exclusion, and social harm. For years, our communities have researched and advocated for policy protections against the same elements that gave rise to January 6th. We have fought to be recognized as valuable contributors to this nation's past, present, and future. 

During the years immediately prior, it is well-documented that hate crimes and hate-inspired speech showed an alarming and consistent spike, especially against historically targeted racial, ethnic, religious, queer, and LGBTQ communities. Project CODE partners recognize that our sense of belonging and prosperity relies on freedom from violence. That freedom requires confronting the threat that armed violence poses to our democracy and the hate-fueled rhetoric that feeds it. Moreover, keeping voters and elections safe from political violence is necessary to advance free, fair, and secure elections and ballot access.

As a collective of civic and service organizations, Project CODE partners are passionate about finding solutions to these threats because we know the harm they cause to our constituencies and democratic institutions. With support from the Joyce Foundation in 2022, Project CODE was launched to foster a synergy between cross-sector organizations whose communities are directly affected by rising political violence. In 2023, Project CODE established www.theprojectcode.org to serve as a resource hub for community members, organizers, researchers, and advocates to leverage data and insight from our partners.

Facilitating connections between our members and partners (at all levels) outside of Project CODE is critical to the initiative's success. This is especially true as we work together to stem the rising tide of political extremism and violence. 

We are all aware that we cannot successfully confront the threat alone. So we aim to find points of connection where collective action will multiply our strength. We seek to work in partnership to ensure that the fundamental rights we have all fought for can be safely exercised. Our work is driven by the shared understanding that collaboration is the key to success.

A Climate in Crisis: Solving the Challenge and Addressing Historic Inequities with Renewable Energy Development

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We stand at a pivotal moment in American history to make transformational impacts that will accelerate the clean energy transition, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and deliver economic-focused restorative justice to Black, Brown, and underserved communities.  These communities have been disproportionately impacted by our nation’s energy system for decades and remain the most concerned about the climate imperative.

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Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in modern history, primarily due to human activities.1 These changes increase the severity and frequency of extreme weather events, and communities of color are particularly vulnerable.

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EPA: Maps which show the increase in duration, intensity, and frequency of heat wave events for 50 major US cities.

Climate change is a crisis that will adversely impact the health and safety of Black, Brown, and underserved communities more than any other American demographic group.3 Greenhouse gas emissions are the leading cause of climate change, and the transportation and electricity sectors are the two largest sources of U.S. emissions.

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By electrifying transportation and replacing fossil fuel plants with new, affordable, and abundant clean energy projects, this generation has an opportunity to solve America’s contribution to the global crisis while drastically reducing the inequitable energy burden on Black, Brown and underserved communities and households across our nation. 

Transitioning the U.S. energy system to run on renewable energy also presents a historic opportunity for job creation and new economic development, as well as the ability to invest in, and provide benefits to, communities negatively impacted by fossil fuel pollution.  


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But equitable investment will not happen automatically.

In this inaugural climate and clean energy section of the annual State of Black America Report, presented by the American Council on Renewable Energy in partnership with the National Urban League, our nation’s foremost experts on environmental justice, energy policy, renewable energy, and civil rights will examine the past and present impacts of fossil fuel and other pollution on Black, Brown and underserved communities, and illustrate a realistic path forward toward realizing a truly just and equitable clean energy future. As you’ll learn, the opportunities are immense, and the consequences for inaction are even greater.


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Key partners supporting the National Urban League's mission for State of Black America Report

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