Young Black leaders are asking the Biden administration to create a BIPOC (Black, indigenous and people of color) youth task force within the Office of Public Engagement to ensure that the organizers of color who helped elect Biden are able to continue to build their movement within the federal government.
“We’ve been receiving messages from the administration that they want to work with us,” Ty Hobson Powell, a 25-year-old Washington, DC-based activist who fought on the frontlines of the Black Lives Matter movement this summer, told CNN.
“Now is the time,” he said. “Biden needs to prioritize young voices of color from day one.”
In addition to asking for a BIPOC task force, Hobson Powell and a cohort of other activists who met while organizing this summer — including Chelsea Miller, Nupol Kiazolu and Seun Babalola — will be sending a series of demands to the Biden administration.
They are asking the Biden administration to take a number of specific racial justice measures within the first 100 days, including DC statehood, the elimination of a cash bail system, a federal ban on discrimination against hair styles and textures associated with race in academic and employment settings and recognizing Election Day as a federal holiday to encourage full participation in democracy.
A BIPOC task force would allow young people with first-hand experiences witnessing racial injustice, the Covid-19 crisis and economic turmoil that has followed, to advise the Biden administration on how to best communicate with and provide resources for their communities, the leaders say.
“Rather than being reactionary, we need to have a working relationship with the Biden administration to proactively tackle systemic racism in our country,” Miller said.
Kiazolu, who has has organized in Black communities since she was 12 years old, protested this past summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, following the death of George Floyd and Louisville, Kentucky, against the death of Breonna Taylor. She also organized protests in New York City.
“Having been on the frontlines, we have experience and credentials to speak on fighting for resources, such as funds for mental health resources and preventative measures for the school to prison pipeline,” Kiazolu said.
Both Kiazolu and Miller stressed the importance of building the task within Biden’s first 100 days in office.
“If there’s anything we’ve seen from this past year, it’s the importance of urgency and showing up in real time to create change,” Kiazolu said.
“This isn’t an option. This is a necessity. This is as urgent as everything else that has been listed to take place in first 100 days,” Miller added.