President Biden signed four historic executive actions promoting racial equity into law
President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic


"In my campaign for president, I made it very clear that the moment had arrived as a nation, as we face deep racial inequities in America and systemic racism that has plagued our nation for far, far too long. I said that over the course of the past year that the blinders had been taken off the nation, the American people. What many Americans didn't see or had simply refused to see couldn't be ignored any longer."

Biden spoke of how George Floyd's killing opened the eyes of the nation and the world and marked "a turning point in this country's attitude toward racial justice." He spoke of the impact of the pandemic on Black and Latino communities and the economic inequalities that plague the nation. He spoke of the white supremacists who invaded our Capitol.

"We have never fully lived up to the founding principles of this nation, to state the obvious, that all people are created equal and have the right to be treated equally throughout their lives," he said. "And it's time to act now, not only because it's the right thing to do, but because if we do, we'll all be better off for it."

"For too long we've allowed a narrow, cramped view of the promise of this nation to fester," he went on. "You know, we've bought the view that America is a zero-sum game in many cases. If you succeed, I fail. If you get ahead, I fall behind. If you get the job I lose mine. Maybe worst of all, if I hold you down, I lift myself up. We've lost sight of what President Kennedy told us what he said, 'A rising tide lifts all boats.' When we lift each other up, we're all lifted up. And the corollary is true as well. When anyone is held down, we're all held back."

President Biden gave some details about what the four executive actions signed today will mean, including giving Native tribes and nations access to the federal stockpile and FEMA, as well as taking a step toward stopping corporations from profiting off of incarceration that is "less humane and less safe, as the studies show."

He also elucidated on further actions he wants to take, or see taken in the case of legislation in Congress, during his administration, starting with undoing some of Trump's last actions as president:

"In the weeks ahead, I'll be reaffirming the federal government's commitment to diversity equity and inclusion and accessibility, building on the work we started and the Obama-Biden administration. That's why I'm rescinding the previous administration's harmful man on diversity and sensitivity training. And abolish the offensive counterfactual 1776 commission. Unity and healing must begin with understanding and truth. Not ignorance and lies."

And including making it easier for all Americans to vote:

"Here's another thing we need to do—we need to restore and expand the Voting Rights Act, named after our dear friend, John Lewis. And continue to fight back against laws many states are engaged in to suppress the right to vote, while expanding access to the ballot box for all eligible voters.:

Biden concluded with by repeating the call for racial equity to be incorporated throughout every part of the government:

"Here's the deal, and I'll close with this," he said. "I ran for president because I believe we're in a battle for the soul of this nation. And the simple truth is our soul will be troubled as long as systemic racism is allowed to persist. It's not going to be overnight. We can't eliminate everything. But it's corrosive, it's destructive, and it's costly. It costs every American, not just who felt the sting of racial injustice. We are not just a nation morally deprived because of systemic racism. We're also less prosperous, we're less successful, less secure. So we must change, and I know it's gonna take time. But I know we can do it. And I firmly believe the nation is ready to change. But government has to change as well. We need to make equity and justice part of what we do every day. Today, tomorrow, and every day.

I'm gonna sign these executive actions to continue to work to make real the promise of America for every American. Again, I'm not promising we can end it tomorrow. But I promise you we're gonna continue to make progress to eliminate systemic racism in every branch of the White House, and the federal government is going to be part of that effort."

People in racial justice advocacy spaces seemed to receive President Biden's address and executive actions with cautious optimism. NAACP president Derrick Johnson told MSNBC, "This is a great initial start," and "The fact he's embedding this inside of Domestic Policy Council shows the urgency and the gravity of what's taking place."

Some pointed out that unless and until there are actual changes coming from the legislative branch, the actions taken by Biden today are tenuous, since they can be changed at the stroke of a pen with a new administration. However, these executive actions and the promises made by Biden do seem to indicate that he is serious about making racial justice a key policy driver during his tenure in the White House.

It's definitely a start, and considering we're only seven days in, a promising sign that more meaningful action is on the way.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

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