By Lorena Grajales, Editor-in-Chief
As we approach the two-week mark of Biden’s presidency, I am drawn to review the best five executive orders his administration has passed in the past week. To begin, his revival of the work around replacing Andrew Jackson (who forcefully removed Native Americans from their land and enslaved people) with abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill sets the tone for equality and fairness for the next four years.
The plan was originally proposed by the Obama administration back in 2016, but it was later delayed during the Trump administration only to be picked up now by the Biden administration. Although this act cannot change our nation’s appalling past nor can it erase the ongoing damage that racism has caused, it is the least we can do to recognize a true, selfless hero in history.
Earlier last week, Biden also repealed Trump’s transgender military ban, opening the doors for inclusivity across the nation. According to a statement from the White House, this executive order “immediately prohibits involuntary separations, discharges, and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity or under circumstances relating to gender identity.” Knowing that our country is now led by a president who does not hide under discrimination and prejudice is what will lead us along a more civil and respectful path.
After 440,000 deaths (and counting) due to Covid-19 and a ridiculous decline of restriction enforcement, a reinstatement of stricter policies was long overdue. Travel restrictions are now being enforced for non-citizens entering the U.S. from Ireland, Brazil, the U.K. and much of Europe. With new Covid-19 variants emerging and the current worsening pandemic, I can only hope we can all unite to follow guidelines while promoting health and safety in an attempt of returning to normalcy.
Last Tuesday, President Biden ordered for the Justice Department to end contracts with private prisons in a push towards racial equity and fighting unfairness in the housing market. Private prisons are unethical as they are managed by corporations who compromise the rights of inmates. Although this order does not apply to other agencies such as ICE, it is a step ahead in the right direction.
Last but not least, Biden unveiled his plan to fight the climate crisis in a series of executive actions. These orders include pausing oil and gas leases on public land, conserving 30% of federal lands and oceans by 2030, doubling offshore wind-driven energy by 2030, and more. This comes after he rejoined the country into the Paris climate agreement the week prior.
Although the first two weeks under Biden have seemed promising, we the people must not cease to hold him accountable for what he’s promised to do and for the change that needs to be accomplished for America to move forward with honor and dignity.