FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces New Actions to Advance Racial and Educational Equity on 70th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

This fact sheet detailing new actions by the Biden Administration to advance racial and educational equity, announced on the 70th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, was provided by the White House:

On the 70th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education (Brown) decision, which outlawed racially segregated schools – deeming them unequal and unconstitutional – the Biden-Harris Administration highlights new actions with the release of additional funding and resources to support school diversity and advance the goal that all students have access to a world-class education. © Karen Rubin/news-photo-features.com

President Biden believes every student deserves access to a high-quality education that prepares them to be the next generation of leaders. Today, on the 70th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education (Brown) decision, which outlawed racially segregated schools – deeming them unequal and unconstitutional – the Biden-Harris Administration highlights new actions with the release of additional funding and resources to support school diversity and advance the goal that all students have access to a world-class education. 

Research shows that racial achievement gaps are strongly associated with school segregation, in turn because schools with high concentrations of Black and Latino students receive fewer resources. The desegregation of schools that followed Brown led to a 30 percent increase in graduation rates for Black students and a 22 percent increase for Latino students. As school districts were released from court-ordered desegregation, research shows that in the 1960s and 1970s, school integration increased rapidly, but that trend has reversed in the past two decades when both racial and economic segregation increased. For example, segregation between white and Black students is up 64 percent since 1988, while segregation by economic status has grown by 50 percent since 1991. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s State of School Diversity Report, racially and socioeconomically isolated schools often lack critical resources and learning experiences and opportunities that prepare students for college and career success. The Department of Education report found that three in five Black and Latino students and two in five American Indian/Alaska Native students attend schools where at least 75% of students are students of color and 42% of white students attend schools where students of color make up less than 25% of the population. 

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring the educational success of every child, and to address racial segregation in our schools that leads to worse educational outcomes for children, including through investments in local efforts to increase diversity and equal opportunity. The Administration is focused on academic acceleration and has made record levels of investment in K-12 schools and institutions of higher education to help improve opportunity for all. This includes supporting districts as they work to strengthen and diversify the education profession, enrich educational experiences, and improve school climate and conditions for robust learning.

New Actions to Advance Racial and Educational Equity

To advance racial and educational equity and continue the work of Brown to support educational opportunity for all students, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the following new actions today:

  • New Magnet School Grants. The Department of Education’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) will invest $20 million in new awards for school districts in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Texas to establish magnet programs designed to further desegregate public schools by attracting students from different social, economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. The President’s 2025 budget request includes $139 million for MSAP and $10 million to continue investments in the Fostering Diverse Schools program.
  • Establishing a new technical assistance center to help states and school districts provide more equitable and adequate approaches to school funding. The U.S. Department of Education announced a new Technical Assistance Center on Fiscal Equity as part of the Comprehensive Centers Program. The Center on Fiscal Equity will provide capacity-building services to support states and school districts build equitable and adequate resource allocation strategies, improve the quality and transparency of fiscal data, and prioritize supports for students and communities with the greatest need.
  • New Data on Equal Access to Math and Science Courses. The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights is releasing a new Civil Rights Data Collection report highlighting students’ access to and enrollment in mathematics, science, and computer science courses and academic programs, drawing from information in the 2020-21 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). The report reflects stark continuing racial inequities in access to math, science, and computer science courses for students in high schools with high concentrations of Black and Latino students. 
  • Preserving African American History. To further advance the President’s Executive Order on Promoting the Arts, the Humanities, and Museum and Library Services, the Administration is launching an interagency process to develop new actions by the Federal Government to preserve African American history – including preserving historic sites, protecting and increasing access to literature, and ensuring the public, including students, has continuing access to resources. This effort will bolster African American history and culture as integral, indelible parts of American history.

Investing in Underserved Schools

  • Under the American Rescue Plan, the nation’s schools received $130 billion in funding – the most in our Nation’s history – with a focus on undeserved schools. The American Rescue Plan also included new requirements that have driven nearly $800 million in State additional education funding, above and beyond the federal investment, to the most underserved school by protecting schools with high rates of poverty from reductions in State and local education funding.
  • To date, the Biden-Harris Administration has secured nearly $2 billion in additional Title I funding to support our schools with the highest need, for a record $18.4 billion in annual funding.
  • The Biden-Harris Administration has also increased funding for Full-Service Community Schools five-fold, from $30 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 to $150 million in FY 2024 so that underserved schools, including those that serve a majority of students of color, have the additional resources they need to help deliver more services to students and their families, such as health care, housing, and child care, to close resource and opportunity gaps.

Increasing Teacher Diversity

Research indicates that educator diversity can improve student achievement and help close achievement gaps. For example, one study found that Black students randomly assigned to at least one Black teacher in grades K-3 were nearly 19% more likely to enroll in college than their same-school, same-race peers.

  • The Administration is prioritizing efforts to increase educator diversity across 15 competitive grant programs that support teacher preparation, development, recruitment, and retention. These programs awarded nearly $450 million to 263 grantees, 92 percent of which were to grantees that addressed specific priorities related to educator diversity.
  • The Administration secured and awarded a total of more than $23 million in first-time ever funding for the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Grant program which provides grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) for teacher preparation programs to increase the number of well-prepared teachers, including teachers of color and multilingual educators.

Strengthening School Diversity

  • During this Administration, the Department of Education is investing more than $300 million in programs that increase school diversity This includes increased investment in the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP), which aims to reduce racial isolation, including by creating highly effective schools, and the creation of the Fostering Diverse Schools Demonstration Program (FDS), a new initiative to increase school socioeconomic diversity, which awarded more than $14 million in new grants.
  • In August 2023 after the Supreme Court effectively ended affirmative action in college admissions, the Department of Education released a Dear Colleague Letter on Race and School Programming to guide schools on lawful programs to promote racially inclusive school communities and, along with the Department of Justice, a Dear Colleague Letter and a Questions and Answers Resource to help colleges and universities understand the Supreme Court’s decision as they continue to pursue campuses that are racially diverse and that include students with a range of viewpoints, talents, backgrounds, and experiences. The Department of Education published a resource summarizing specific guidance describing Federal legal obligations to ensure that all students have equal access to education regardless of race, color, or national origin.
  • The Department of Education issued a new rule requiring, among other things, many Charter School Program applicants to assure that proposed charter schools would not negatively affect any desegregation efforts in the communities in which charters are to be located.

Closing the School Readiness Gap

Because of the legacy of discrimination, Black children start school on average nearly seven months behind their white peers in reading. One study finds that one year of universal high-quality pre-K could eliminate most of that gap. Others indicate that students who go to preschool are nearly 50% more likely to finish high school and go on to a college degree. Each of the President’s budgets have included proposals that would provide preschool to every four-year-old in the country. In addition:

  • President Biden has secured an additional $1.5 billion for Head Start and nearly a 50% increase in funding for the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, which helps low-income families afford child care. Approximately 30% of children and families receiving high-quality Head Start services are Black and close to 40% of families benefiting from CCBDG are Black. 
  • The American Rescue Plan provided $24 billion to stabilize child care. Over 44% of programs that received assistance were owned or operated by people of color and 53% of providers receiving stabilization funds were operating in the most racially diverse counties.

The Department of Education released guidance on how districts can leverage the increases the President has secured for Title I to expand access to high-quality preschool services, including through partnerships with Head Start programs. This is the first Department of Education preschool guidance in more than a decade.

Black Voters Want to Know ‘What Biden Has Done for Me Lately’? Answer: A LOT

President Biden comes to Atlanta in January, 2022, to speak out on behalf of voting rights and protecting democracy and free and fair elections © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via MSNBC

I can’t fathom the absurdity of polls that suggest young Black men are pulling their support for Biden in favor of Trump because Biden hasn’t personally visited every impoverished neighborhood! And yet, there is discussion that Biden wasn’t going to be welcomed as the commencement speaker at Morehouse College, despite appropriating record amounts of aid to HBCUs, cancelling student debt for millions, who has the most racially and gender diverse administration and confirmed more diverse judges, including the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, and all he has done to make economic, social, criminal, environmental, political justice and equity the basis for every policy and program he has implemented! Not to mention naming the first woman of color his Vice President. They want to support Trump, who has been overtly racist for his entire life (called for the Central Park 5, later exonerated, to be executed, was cited for discriminating against Blacks in housing), who called out the National Guard and wanted to shoot George Floyd protesters, who could care less about black maternal mortality rates and wants to repeal the cost cap on insulin and Obamacare? Biden celebrated the 70th anniversary of the hallmark Brown v. Board of Education decision and is promoting universal pre-K, parental leave and affordable childcare, while Trump judges seek to reverse and render Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs and affirmative action “unconstitutional.” And if Blacks either vote for Trump or do not vote, Biden will lose reelection and Trump will reverse every policy that has benefited minority communities, from gun violence prevention, promoting access to affordable housing and ridding communities of toxic pollution, to promoting free and fair access to the ballot box.

Here are Biden’s remarks during interviews on two Black radio shows, and a memo from Trey Baker, Senior Advisor, Biden-Harris 2024, outlining actual achievements instead of actual pandering (“What have Democrats done for you lately?” – Answer, A LOT) – Karen Rubin, news-photos-features.com

President Biden Underscores Stakes of 2024
Election to Black Voters

Interviews with President Biden aired on two Black radio shows, V-103’s The Big Tigger Show with Darian “Big Tigger” Morgan in Atlanta, Georgia and 101.7 The Truth with Sherwin Hughes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he underscored the stakes of this election. On the airwaves, President Biden highlighted the progress his administration has made for Black Americans from creating millions of jobs for Black workers to forgiving billions in student loan debt directly working to close the racial wealth gap – in contrast with Donald Trump, who tried to rip away health care from millions of Black Americans by repealing the Affordable Care Act, raised health care costs, and cut taxes for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

Read Excerpts from President Biden’s Interviews Below

V-103, The Big Tigger Show in Atlanta, Georgia

On The Biden-Harris Administration’s Accomplishments for Black Americans: “The first most important thing we can do is make sure the Affordable Health Care Act is not cut by [Donald Trump]. He says he’s gonna do it. […] We pay the most expensive drug costs in the world and, you know, we brought down, as I said, capped insulin costs at 35 bucks instead of 400. More Black families have coverage under the ACA. Black enrollment has nearly doubled, saving families $800 a month on premiums. We took on Big Pharma so Medicare can now negotiate prices. Under Trump uninsurance rates went up, not down. He tried to repeal Obamacare and the ACA 50 times and if he succeeds, it would raise premiums $12,000 for Georgia middle-class families. He wants to cut Social Security and he wants to make sure that Medicare is cut as well, increasing costs, giving tax breaks to the super wealthy. The bottom line here is that this is a guy who is all about wanting to make all the cuts we can make for multi-billionaires and millionaires tax breaks, significant tax breaks, I have a completely different view of it. […]”

On How Donald Trump Hurt the Black Community: “Look, Trump hurt Black people every chance he got as President. Black unemployment, uninsurance rates went up under Trump. Trump’s tax scam reinforced discrimination. Typical white household got double, double cuts of the typical Black household. The botched COVID-19 response was leaving Black people dead, Black-owned businesses shuttered, he pushed to bring back stop and frisk law. Remember who Trump is. He falsely accused the Central Park Five. He’s the the founder of birtherism. He tried to repeal Obamacare the first time. Now he’s promised to do even more damage to Black people.”

On the Importance of Voting: “And so you know, your vote is your voice. Lots of close elections these last couple and every vote counts. I ran in 2020 because democracy was at stake and I think it still is. Because folks like you turned out to vote in 2020, we have made remarkable progress. Trump has decided he’s going to take it all down. For example, one of the things I did in the legislation [was] innovating the infrastructure, replacing every lead pipe in Georgia, every single one, so that now the kids, you’re not gonna worry about your kid in school or at home, drinking water that has lead in it that causes brain damage. You know, making sure that everybody has access to affordable internet, affordable and available, and that’s costing billions of dollars. We’re paying for it to get it done so everybody has access. Trump’s presidency could mean a return to chaos, division and violence, MAGA extremism.”

The Truth with Sherwin Hughes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

On The Biden-Harris Administration’s Accomplishments for Black Americans: “We sent $1,400 checks to people who were having trouble. Black child poverty was cut in half in 2021. We build black wealth, 15 million jobs nationwide, more than 2.5 million for Black Americans. Black wealth is up 60% since the pandemic. Homeownership is up and I’m fighting back against the [racial] bias in home appraisal. If the same home [is] built on one side of a highway in the Black community, as built in the white community, they devalue the home in the Black community. You know, 200,000 new business applications in Wisconsin after investing hundreds of millions of dollars in small businesses. We have 76,000 Black homeowners, more than $800 annually on their FHA insurance mortgage, we saved them. And look and we also relieved student debt, $160 billion in student loan debt for 4.6 million borrowers, many of them Black borrowers, and a plan to relieve student loan debt for 30 million overall. And as I said, you know, we lower prescription drug prices. We’re also in a position where we invest in communities too long left out, left behind. […] Trump has a very different view of the community. […] Trump, you know, he’s still accusing the Central Park Five, he’s the founder of birtherism, he’s tried to repeal Obamacare. He hasn’t, he’s done virtually nothing and he wants to cut access to voting. The whole range of things make a fundamental difference.”

On What’s at Stake this November: “A great deal is at stake, everything that all the progress we’ve made is at stake. For example, right now we’ve lowered health care costs, we’ve been able to walk in and make sure we forgive student debt…. We provided billions of dollars to HBCUs to give them a fighting chance. We’ve changed prescription drug costs, by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices so that people on insulin are paying 35 bucks a month instead of 400 bucks a month. And all prescription drugs can be limited to $2,000 a year, you know, cancer drugs ten, 12, $14,000. We are strengthening Medicare. Look, you know, we stand up for our principles. Our democracy is at stake, in fact. Look what he’s doing with Putin and with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. Look at him saying ‘if we don’t think a country is paying enough for their own defense, then they get invaded by the Russians or anyone else, so that’s up to them. We are not gonna help.’ He has a fundamentally different view than the vast majority of Republicans, I might add in the past, as well as me and the Democratic Party..”

Memo: Biden-Harris 2024 Black Outreach

From: Trey Baker, Biden-Harris 2024 Sr. Advisor

Since day one, the Biden-Harris campaign has been authentic and consistent in our efforts to reach Black voters and ensure they are aware that no other administration in modern history has delivered for Black America in the way Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have.  From historic investments and engagement with Black media, to extensive travel by President Biden and Vice President Harris as well as innovative organizing programs that highlight the administration’s commitment to generating Black wealth – we are meeting Black voters where they are.

This weekend is a continuation of that work. The President will attend an event on Saturday in Georgia focused on engaging Black voters, which will provide our Georgia state team additional support in their efforts to reach and organize the community. Serving in his official capacity, the President will then deliver the commencement address at Morehouse College Sunday morning. As Biden-Harris Co-Chair and Morehouse Alum Cedric Richmond perfectly stated, Morehouse College remains one of the most valued, celebrated and distinguished institutions of higher learning in the United States and is responsible for educating some of the most significant Black men in our country’s history. Given the way the Biden-Harris Administration has delivered for Black America, and HBCUs, there is no better speaker for this year’s commencement ceremony than President Biden.

During the weekend, President Biden will also engage with local Black-owned small businesses as he frequently does on his trips. The President will visit a Black-owned small business in Detroit on Sunday ahead of his NAACP speech, and will have a valuable discussion with the business owners focused on this administration’s continued effort to build Black wealth and close the racial wealth gap. Black-owned small businesses have been critical to the Biden-Harris organizing strategy. An organizing model we developed with Detroit small businesses in March is now being rolled out across our battleground states, this month. The President will close out his weekend swing by delivering the keynote address at the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner, where he will once again talk directly to Black America about the issues we care about most.

No administration has delivered for Black America like Joe & Kamala

After Donald Trump failed us, no administration has delivered for Black America like President Biden and Vice-President Harris. While the Black unemployment rate skyrocketed under Trump, the Biden-Harris administration helped to create over 2.5 million jobs for Black workers, resulting in record low Black unemployment – Black business ownership is also growing at the fastest pace in 30 years.  After Donald Trump’s failed PPP launch helped his rich friends at the expense of minority businesses, President Biden worked closely with small businesses to recover. The share of Black households owning a business has now doubled since the pandemic. The President’s student loan forgiveness program has also disproportionately benefited Black Americans, who received nearly $160 billion in student loan debt forgiven. That’s right – BILLION. This measure is directly working to increase Black wealth and close the racial wealth gap. Even after Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Justices tried to stop us. These efforts are directly working to close the racial wealth gap as Black students take on 85% more educational debt than their white counterparts, and 86% of Black students graduate with debt.

Black child poverty was cut in half during the pandemic through the President’s Child Tax Credit, which we are fighting to bring back, despite resistance from MAGA Republicans in the House and Senate. More Black Americans have healthcare coverage than ever before, while Trump remains obsessed with ripping away our healthcare coverage by repealing Obamacare, the signature accomplishment of the first Black President. The President and Vice-President have also tackled the Black Maternal Health Crisis by allowing states to expand Medicaid postpartum coverage from just 60 days to 12 months—impacting approximately 65% of births for Black mothers. And, let’s not forget that Joe Biden has confirmed more Black women to the federal bench than all other Presidents combined.

No campaign has invested in Black outreach like we have

In September of last year, this campaign announced the earliest and largest investment in outreach to Black voters of any reelection campaign in history. Then, earlier this year, on the heels of the President’s electric State of the Union address, our March Month of Action. During the month of March the President and Vice President traveled to every single battleground, putting a focus on key black communities, such as Atlanta, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and others, talking directly to Black voters. President Biden had dinner with Eric Fitts, a North Carolina teacher who benefited from President Biden’s student loan relief program, and his two sons. The TikTok taken by one son during the visit has been viewed over 5 million times. In Saginaw, Michigan, the President also met with a father and son golfing team. Their meeting was first shared on Instagram by The Black Man Can, who has over 1 million followers.

Throughout the month of May, we are continuing these efforts with a seven-figure investment in Black media to communicate directly with voters where they are. The President has done more Black radio interviews than any other medium thus far on the campaign – eleven interviews this year alone.  This week, he spoke with Big Tigger, a major figure of our culture, ahead of his visit to Morehouse.

We’ve also had a dedicated campaign presence at festivals like J.Cole’s Dreamville Fest in North Carolina and engagement with the voters who traveled to Las Vegas for the Lovers & Friends Festival, increasing our reach with young black voters in particular. The Vice President and Second Gentleman have also engaged with cultural influencers like Sheryl Lee Ralph and Khadeen Ellis to talk about what’s at stake for reproductive rights for Black Americans.

We’ve partnered with black-owned small businesses to expand our organizing presence in key battleground states. In Michigan, Team Biden-Harris spent March and April engaging with thousands of small business owners — centered in communities of color — to leverage their networks for visibility and outreach. Beginning this month, Team Biden-Harris is scaling its small business outreach program to all of our battlegrounds.  Meanwhile, Donald Trump and the RNC are shutting down their much vaunted diversity centers.

The Vice President is also in the middle of an Economic Opportunity Tour in her official capacity, which focuses heavily on how the administration is putting Black wealth front and center.

Bottom Line: From the very beginning the President and Vice President have been clear that this campaign will not take a single voter for granted. We are not, and will not, parachute into these communities at the last minute, expecting their vote. Every day, from now until election day, we will continue working diligently to ensure that come November, Black voters send Joe Biden and Kamala Harris back to the White House to continue delivering for Black America in unprecedented ways.

Marking Holocaust Remembrance, President Biden Speaks Out Against Antisemitism

In his keynote address at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Days of Remembrance Ceremony, President Biden spoke out against antisemitism, saying that the hate that culminated in the Holocaust in which 6 million Jews – one third of the population of Jews in the world – were extinguished by Nazi Germany, did not begin with Hitler and did not end with World War II. Here is a transcript of his remarks.

In his keynote address at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Days of Remembrance Ceremony, President Biden spoke out against antisemitism, saying that the hate that culminated in the Holocaust in which 6 million Jews – one third of the population of Jews in the world – were extinguished by Nazi Germany, did not begin with Hitler and did not end with World War II. Here is a transcript of his remarks. (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via MSNBC

During these sacred Days of Remembrance, we grieve.  We give voice to the 6 million Jews who were systematically targeted and murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War Two.  We honor the memory of victims, the pain of survivors, the bravery of heroes who stood up to Hitler’s unspeakable evil.  And we recommit to heading and heeding the lessons that [of] one of the darkest chapters in human history, to revitalize and realize the responsibility of “never again.”

Never again, simply translated for me, means “never forget.”  Never forget.  Never forgetting means we must keep telling the story.  We must keep teaching the truth.  We must keep teaching our children and our grandchildren.  

And the truth is we are at risk of people not knowing the truth.  

That’s why, growing up, my dad taught me and my siblings about the horrors of the Shoah at our family dinner table.  That’s why I visited Yad Vashem with my family as a senator, as vice president, and as president.  And that’s why I took my grandchildren to Dachau, so they could see and bear witness to the perils of indifference, the complicity of silence in the face of evil that they knew was happening. 

Germany, 1933.  Hitler and his Nazi party rise to power by rekindling one of the world’s oldest forms of prejudice and hate: antisemitism.  His rule didn’t begin with mass murder.  It started slowly across economic, political, social, and cultural life: propaganda demonizing Jews; boycotts of Jewish businesses; synagogues defaced with swastikas; harassment of Jews in the street and in the schools; antisemitic demonstrations, pogroms, organized riots.  

With the indifference of the world, Hitler knew he could expand his reign of terror by eliminating Jews from Germany, to annihilate Jews across Europe through genocide the Nazi’s called the “Final Solution” — concentration camps, gas chambers, mass shootings.  

By the time the war ended, 6 million Jews — one out of every three Jews in the entire world — were murdered.  

This ancient hatred of Jews didn’t begin with the Holocaust; it didn’t end with the Holocaust, either, or after — or even after our victory in World War Two.  This hatred continues to lie deep in the hearts of too many people in the world, and it requires our continued vigilance and outspokenness.    

That hatred was brought to life on October 7th in 2023.  On a sacred Jewish holiday, the terrorist group Hamas unleashed the deadliest day of the Jewish people since the Holocaust.  

Driven by ancient desire to wipeout the Jewish people off the face of the Earth, over 1,200 innocent people — babies, parents, grandparents — slaughtered in their kibbutz, massacred at a musical festival, brutally raped, mutilated, and sexually assaulted.  Thousands more carrying wounds, bullets, and shrapnel from the memory of that terrible day they endured.  Hundreds taken hostage, including survivors of the Shoah.  

Now, here we are, not 75 years later but just seven and a half months later, and people are already forgetting.  They’re already forgetting that Hamas unleased this terror, that it was Hamas that brutalized Israelis, that it was Hamas who took and continues to hold hostages.  I have not forgotten, nor have you, and we will not forget.  (Applause.)    

And as Jews around the world still cope with the atrocities and trauma of that day and its aftermath, we’ve seen a ferocious surge of antisemitism in America and around the world: vicious propaganda on social media, Jews forced to keep their — hide their kippahs under baseball hats, tuck their Jewish stars into their shirts.  

On college campuses, Jewish students blocked, harassed, attacked while walking to class.  

Antisemitism — antisemitic posters, slogans calling for the annihilation of Israel, the world’s only Jewish State.  

Too many people denying, downplaying, rationalizing, ignoring the horrors of the Holocaust and October 7th, including Hamas’s appalling use of sexual violence to torture and terrorize Jews.  

It’s absolutely despicable, and it must stop.  

Silence — (applause) — silence and denial can hide much, but it can erase nothing.  Some injustices are so heinous, so horrific, so grievous, they cannot be muri- — buried, no matter how hard people try.  

In my view, a major lesson of the Holocaust is, as mentioned earlier, it’s not — was not inevitable.  We know hate never goes away; it only hides.  And given a little oxygen, it comes out from under the rocks.  

But we also know what stops hate.  One thing: all of us.  

The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks described antisemitism as a virus that has survived and mutated over time.  Together, we cannot continue to let that happen.  

We have to remember our basic principles as a nation.  We have an obligation — we have an obligation to learn the lessons of history so we don’t surrender our future to the horrors of the past.  We must give hate no safe harbor against anyone — anyone.  

From the very founding — our very founding, Jewish Americans, who represent only about 2 percent of the U.S. population, have helped lead the cause of freedom for everyone in our nation.  From that experience, we know scapegoating and demonizing any minority is a threat to every minority and the very foundation of our democracy.  

So, in moments like this, we have to put these principles that we’re talking about into action.  

I understand people have strong beliefs and deep convictions about the world.  In America, we respect and protect the fundamental right to free speech, to debate and disagree, to protest peacefully and make our voices heard.  

I understand.  That’s America.  

But there is no place on any campus in America — any place in America — for antisemitism or hate speech or threats of violence of any kind — (applause) — whether against Jews or anyone else.  

Violent attacks, destroying property is not peaceful protest.  It’s against the law.  And we are not a lawless country.  We’re a civil society.  We uphold the rule of law.  

And no one should have to hide or be brave just to be themselves.  (Applause.)

To the Jewish community, I want you to know I see your fear, your hurt, and your pain.  

Let me reassure you, as your President, you are not alone.  You belong.  You always have, and you always will.  

And my commitment to the safety of the Jewish people, the security of Israel, and its right to exist as an independent Jewish state is ironclad, even when we disagree.  (Applause.)

My administration is working around the clock to free remaining hostages, just as we have freed hostages already, and we will not rest until we bring them all home.  (Applause.) 

My administration, with our Second Gentleman’s leadership, has launched our nation’s first National Sec- — Strategy to Counter Antisemitism that’s mobilizing the full force of the federal government to protect Jewish communities.

But — but we know this is not the work of government alone or Jews alone.  That’s why I’m calling on all Americans to stand united against antisemitism and hate in all its forms.  

My dear friend, and he became a friend, the late Elie Wiesel, said, quote, “One person of integrity can make a difference.”  We have to remember that now more than ever.   

Here in Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol, among the towering statues of history, is a bronze bust of Raoul Wallenberg.  Born in Sweden as a Lutheran, he was a businessman and a diplomat.  While stationed in Hungary during World War Two, he used diplomatic cover to hide and rescue about 100,000 Jews over a six-month period.  

Among them was a 16-year-old Jewish boy who escaped a Nazi labor camp.  After the war ended, that boy received a scholarship from the Hillel Foundation to study in America.  He came to New York City penniless but determined to turn his pain into purpose, along with his wife, also a Holocaust survivor.  He became a renowned economist and foreign policy thinker, eventually making his way to this very Capitol on the staff of a first-term senator.  

That Jewish refugee was Tom Lantos, and that senator was me.  

Tom and his wife, Annette, and their family became dear friends to me and my family.  Tom would go on to become the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to Congress, where he became a leading voice on civil rights and human rights around the world.  

Tom never met Raoul, who was taken prisoner by the Soviets, never to be heard from again.  But through Tom’s efforts, Raoul’s bust is here in the Capitol.  

He was also given honorary U.S. citizenship — only the second person ever, after Winston Churchill.  

And the Holocaust Museum here in Washington is located on a roal- — a road in Raoul’s name.  

The story of the power of a single person to put aside our differences, to see our common humanity, to stand up to hate.  And it’s an ancient story of resilience from immense pain, persecution to find hope, purpose, and meaning in life we try to live and share with one another.  That story endures.

Let me close with this.  I know these Days of Remembrance fall on difficult times.  But we all do well to remember these days also fall during the month we celebrate Jewish American heritage — a heritage that stretches from our earliest days to enrich every single part of American life today.  

Great American — great Jewish American named Tom Lantos used the phrase, “The veneer of civilization is paper thin.  We are its guardians, and we can never rest.”

My fellow Americans, we must — we must be those guardians.  We must never rest.  We must rise against hate, meet across the divide, see our common humanity.  

And God bless the victims and survivors of the Shoah.  

May the resilient hearts, the courageous spirit, and the eternal flame of faith of the Jewish people forever shine their light on America and around the world, pray God.

Biden-Harris Administration Ramps Up Actions to Counter Antisemitism on College Campuses and Protect Jewish Communities

Crematorium at Mauthausen  concentration camp on a hill above the market town of Mauthausen Upper Austria. In his keynote address at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Day of Remembrance, President Biden honors the memory of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust and makes clear that we must recommit to heeding the lessons of this dark chapter: ‘Never Again.’ © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In his keynote address at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Day of Remembrance Celebration, President Biden honors the memory of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust – and makes clear that we must recommit to heeding the lessons of this dark chapter: ‘Never Again.’ The President raises: 

       The importance of recounting the crimes of the Holocaust and the events that led to it as the world watched with indifference.

       The atrocities of October 7th – the deadliest attack committed against the Jewish people since the Holocaust – and how too many people are downplaying both events.

       The unacceptable acts of Antisemitism we’re seeing on campuses and across the country.

       How all Americans must stand united against Antisemitism and hate in all its forms.

During Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Biden-Harris Administration announced several new actions to counter the abhorrent rise of Antisemitism in the United States. President Biden will speak at the Days of Remembrance commemoration hosted by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, reaffirming our Nation’s sacred commitment to the Jewish people following the Holocaust: Never Again.

This year’s remembrance is particularly sobering, as it comes seven months after the terrorist group Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th, the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Since that time, there has been an alarming rise of Antisemitic incidents across the country and throughout the world—most recently, in instances of violence and hate during some protests at college campuses across the Nation.

Today’s new actions build on the work of the President’s National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, the first-ever such strategy, which was released one year ago this month. The strategy represents the most comprehensive and ambitious U.S. government effort to counter Antisemitism in American history. It includes over 100 actions the Biden-Harris Administration has taken, and continues to take, to address the rise of Antisemitism in the United States, as well as over 100 calls to action for Congress, state and local governments, companies, technology platforms, students, educators, civil society, faith leaders, and others. It has involved actions by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to provide greater security to Jewish institutions, as well as actions by the Department of Education to address antisemitism and by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to further support education around Jewish history. 

The Biden-Harris Administration has taken aggressive action to implement the strategy and to speak out forcefully against hate of all kinds, especially in the wake of the October 7th attacks. Through the National Security Supplemental, President Biden secured an additional $400 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which funds security improvements and training to nonprofits and houses of worship, including campus organizations and community centers. This funding has been critical to the security of Jewish institutions. Last week, for example, the Biden-Harris Administration sent a guide to the leadership of more than 5,000 colleges and universities with information on resources to promote campus safety from the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Education.

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced additional actions to counter Antisemitism in Year Two of the Strategy, building on its work over the past year:

  • Today, the Department of Education’s (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued new guidance through a Dear Colleague Letter to every school district and college in the country, providing examples of Antisemitic discrimination, as well as other forms of hate, that could lead to investigations for violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI). This guidance is meant to ensure that colleges and universities do a better job of protecting both Jewish students and all of their students.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will work with interagency partners to build an online campus safety resources guide and landing page to provide the range of financial, educational, and technical assistance to campuses in one, easy-to-use website.
  • DHS will develop and share best practices for community-based targeted violence and terrorism prevention to reduce these assaults and attacks. Federal agencies will elevate ongoing efforts to address the fear felt in targeted communities and ensure that resources are widely known among communities that need them.
  • The Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism at the Department of State will convene technology firms to identify best practices to address Antisemitic content online. Departments and agencies will continue to provide technology companies with relevant information about symbols and themes associated with violent extremism online to help them enforce their terms of service.

These new actions build on actions taken to date:

Title VI Enforcement

  • ED-OCR has opened more than 100 investigations over the past seven months into complaints alleging discrimination based on shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, including Antisemitism. The previous administration opened 27 such investigations in all four years.
  • On Friday, Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona sent a letter to more than 5,000 leaders at institutions of higher education across the country to reiterate that federal law protects against Antisemitic discrimination that violates Title VI. He also shared a Campus Safety Resource Guide to serve as a one-stop-shop of federal resources. ED OCR has issued several Dear Colleague Letters to every school district and college in the country and conducted training and outreach reminding them of their obligation to provide educational environments free from discrimination, as well as the tools available to report discriminatory incidents. OCR maintains a website with more resources on shared ancestry discrimination.
  • ED OCR updated its complaint form specifying that Title VI’s protection from discrimination, including harassment, based on race, color, or national origin includes discrimination against students based on shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, including those who are or are perceived to be Jewish, Muslim, Arab, Hindu, or Sikh.
  • Eight Cabinet-level agencies clarified for the first time in writing that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits certain forms of antisemitic, Islamophobic, and related forms of discrimination in federally funded programs and activities. In addition, these agencies—the Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), DHS , Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Interior, Labor (DOL), Treasury, and Transportation (DOT)—have taken a number of steps to raise awareness of Title VI protections and other relevant statutes among Jewish and other communities, including by translating Title VI fact sheets into languages such as Yiddish and Hebrew and creating new Title VI landing pages to serve as a one-stop-shop of resources.

Campus and School Safety

  • Since October 7th, FBI and DHS have taken steps to expand and deepen engagements with campus law enforcement and others to improve school safety. DHS has engaged with schools to identify security enhancements and raise awareness of SchoolSafety.gov, which offers school safety information and resources. DHS also has shared information via threat briefings and partner calls with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers a training course called Crisis Management Affecting Institutions of Higher Education: A Collaborative Community Approach, through which campus members can learn how to effectively manage a crisis using a whole community approach, effective crisis communication, and more.
  • In the wake of October 7th, DHS’s Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) tasked its field force to proactively engage with schools to understand and address their needs. CISA has further expanded security capacity-building services to synagogues, community centers, and Jewish day schools. These services include risk assessments, planning assistance, and active shooter and bomb prevention-related training. CISA has held sessions on active shooter preparedness; an introduction to bomb threat management; tabletop exercise packages for synagogues; and a training on responding to suspicious behaviors and items. Since June 2023, CISA personnel have conducted over 400 in-person visits with Jewish houses of worship and other institutions. Additional security trainings, information and resources are found here.
  • USDA has held sessions with university leaders from 80 land-grant universities and rural colleges to share promising practices to address Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate.
  • Under the National Strategy, the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a pilot curriculum for middle and high school-age youth designed to prevent youth hate crimes and identity-based bullying. In year two of the National Strategy, the curriculum will be rolled out this August, before the school year begins.

Community Safety Resources

  • DHS broadened access to the Nonprofit Security Grant Program by holding several webinars, expanding its Protecting Places of Worship Week of Action, and leveraging partnerships with DOJ. During the Biden-Harris Administration, this program has made 2,960 grants to Jewish institutions for a total of $397 million in funding to Jewish institutions.
  • To assist campus public safety and law enforcement identify available federal financial assistance opportunities, DHS published guidance clarifying the eligibility of law enforcement agencies at institutions of higher education to receive both State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant funding.
  • DHS hosts the Prevention Resource Finder to provide stakeholders the full range of federal resources available to help prepare for and prevent targeted violence and terrorism across our country. Resources on the website include community support resources, grant funding opportunities, information-sharing platforms, evidence-based research, and training opportunities for campuses and communities to reduce the risk of hate-based and targeted violence. Since its launch in March 2023, it has been viewed over 58,000 times.
  • Through the DHS Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3), DHS is strengthening the country’s ability to prevent targeted violence and terrorism nationwide through funding, training, increased public awareness, and partnerships across government, the private sector, and local communities.
  • The U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) conducts training on threat assessments and the prevention of targeted violence. These resources examine attacks against colleges and universities, among other locations.

Hate Crimes Prevention and Response

  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) widely disseminated its updated hate crimes threat response guide to inform Americans about steps they can take if they receive a threat. The guide, published on the FBI’s hate crimes resource page, has been shared with organizations and state and local law enforcement entities across the nation. The FBI reviews every tip it receives to ascertain the credibility of the information and, if it learns of a credible threat, quickly takes action. FBI’s campus liaisons enhance information-sharing with campuses.
  • DOJ has expanded its engagement with Jewish community groups in support of the National Strategy. The FBI has held over 650 engagements with faith-based and community organizations since October 7th. DOJ and the FBI have used robust and diverse outreach to local law enforcement agencies to improve the reporting of hate crime data. DOJ’s United Against Hate community outreach and engagement initiative has held over 300 engagements involving over 10,000 participants to educate community members about hate crimes, build trust between community and law enforcement, and strengthen local networks to combat unlawful acts of hate. DOJ’s Community Relations Service provides mediation, training and consultation services to assist communities come together, develop solutions to conflict and prevent future conflict. DOJ has also developed and released two documents that explain civil rights law prohibiting national origin discrimination and religious discrimination and provide information to the public on identifying and reporting national origin and religious discrimination in the civil and criminal context.
  • Throughout the spring, USDA is providing hate crime trainings, including Antisemitic hate crimes, for law enforcement agents of the U.S. Forest Service. The Department of the Interior (DOI) has distributed new resources on Jewish American heritage through the National Park Service.

Addressing Discrimination and Religious Accommodations

  • USDA is making kosher food more accessible by working to ensure equal access to all USDA feeding programs for customers with religious dietary needs.
  • The Department of Defense (DOD) leveraged existing survey data to estimate the prevalence of Antisemitic and Islamophobic behavior in the military workplace and to evaluate its policies to counter discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and extremist activity. This analysis was the first to specifically estimate Antisemitic and Islamophobic activity in the military workplace.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has disseminated materials on nondiscrimination and religious accommodation in the workplace and has held more than 50 outreach and training events on Antisemitism at its field offices around the country.
  • The HHS Office for Civil Rights issued a Dear Colleague letter and guidance to U.S. hospital and long-term care facility administrators, reminding organizations of their legal obligations under relevant regulations and federal civil rights laws to ensure that facility visitation policies do not unlawfully discriminate against patients or other individuals receiving care, including on the basis of religion. HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Child Traumatic Stress Network has released a toolkit of behavioral health resources pertaining to the Israel-Hamas war, as well as additional resources on how to talk with children and youth about hate crimes and identity-based violence, including Antisemitism.
  • DOL published a “Know Your Rights” resource for union members regarding their right to be free from discrimination based on religion, national origin, or race in the workplace.
  • On Thursday, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) will convene state education officials to discuss best practices in Holocaust education, including the incorporation of the history of Antisemitism, and opportunities to expand such education.
  • The USHMM concluded its first tour of the Americans and the Holocaust traveling exhibitions. Launched in fall 2021, the exhibition visited 41 states, reaching more than 330,000 visitors. Thirty-four college courses have incorporated content from this exhibition. The USHMM and American Library Association will launch a second tour of the exhibition in September 2024 at an additional 50 libraries.
  • Several federal agencies have incorporated information about Antisemitism, workplace religious accommodations, and related topics into employee training programs as they carry out their obligations under Executive Order 14035 (Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce). To support this work, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) surveyed federal agencies about their existing trainings. OPM, EEOC, and the White House Office of Management and Budget have provided learning sessions for agency diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility officers on Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and related forms of discrimination, as well as workplace religious accommodations.

To learn more about the National Strategy, see previous White House Fact Sheets.

Photo Highlights: 33,000 Take Over NYC Streets for 46th Annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour

33,000 cyclists gather in Lower Manhattan for the start of the 46th annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandner.com

Rain did not dampen spirits of the 33,000 riders, who joined the 46th annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour on May 5, thrilling in the freedom of biking 40 miles of city streets and bridges closed to vehicle traffic.

The riders came from all 50 states and 65 countries;  1700 riders were biking for charity, raising $1 million from the day’s event, making the TD Five Boro Bike Tour the largest charity bike ride in the world, Ken Podziba, Bike New York’s President and CEO, declared.

Ken Podziba, Bike New York’s President and CEO, greets the 33,000 riders who take part in the 46th annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Along the way, riders get a taste of city’s neighborhoods, culture and quirks, with bands to represent each borough.  Along the route, bikers encounter the 1,500 cheerful volunteers who keep the route safe and pleasant, direct traffic come to bikers’ aid, man the many rest stops along the way, and cheer the riders on.

Achilles riders set out on the 40-mile TD Five Boro Bike Tour © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The ride is a celebration of biking – the economic, environmental, health, cultural and community benefits – with the cyclists coming together and literally taking over the streets. But is also an expression of advocacy for more protected bike lanes throughout the city.

Ydanis Rodriguez, Commissioner – NYC DOT Commissioner, said New York City is the safest city for cyclists and with 32 miles of protected bike lanes, the city has the largest network of all large cities. “Biking is good for the environment, good for the economy, good for health. We must continue to make New York City the best and safest for biking.”

Ydanis Rodriguez, Commissioner, NYC DOT Commissioner, said New York City is the safest city for cyclists © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

But Brooklyn Councilman Lincoln Restler said,  “We are on record for most bike deaths. Our streets are not safe enough.”

And Councilmember Dale Brewer, former Manhattan Borough President, added, “We will keep fighting for protected lanes.” She also lauded Bike NYC’s mission of teaching children how to bike.

Bike New York offers free bike education programs for children and adults throughout the five boroughs – in 2020 alone, teaching more than 30,000 New Yorkers the skill. Bike New York organizes numerous annual events, of which the TD Five Boro Bike Tour is the largest and most ambitious.

NYS Senator John Liu presents proclamation to Bike New York CEO Ken Podziba © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Bike New York basically was created along with the Five Boro Bike Tour, when in 1977, American Youth Hostels and the NYC Board of Education initiated a high school training program that culminated in a challenge: 50 participating students were asked to pedal through all five boroughs in a single day. Known then as the Five Boro Challenge, it began 250 total riders, and developed into the Five Boro Bike Tour that each year on the first Sunday in May attracts 32,000 cyclists to experience the city in a very special way.

Its mission states, “Bike New York empowers New Yorkers to transform their lives and their communities through bicycling. Our vision is to increase ridership, to empower youth to lead healthy, productive lives, to remove barriers to cycling, and to advocate for and expand services to reach more New Yorkers.”

Here are photo highlights from the 2024 TD Five Boro Bike Tour:

33,000 cyclists gather in Lower Manhattan for the start of the 46th annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
A few of Bike New York’s Social Media ambassadors who collectively recruited 3500 riders to the 2024 TD Five Boro Bike Tour © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The NYPD’s contingent of riders in the 2024 TD Five Boro Bike Tour © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Ralph Bumbaca, Regional Vice President of TD Bank, the title sponsor of the Five Boro Bike Tour since 2007 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Jumaane Williams, NYC Public Advocate: “Biking is a great form of transportation” © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
And they’re off to ride 40 car-less miles through NYC’s five boroughs © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
And they’re off to ride 40 car-less miles through NYC’s five boroughs © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
And they’re off. Riding up 6th Avenue at the start of the 40-mile TD Five Boro Bike Tour © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Riders pass Radio City Music Hall on 6th Avenue, Manhattan © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Cheer NY greets riders outside TD Bank. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Biking through Central Park, Manhattan © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com 
Undeterred by the forecast of rain, the 2024 TD Five Boro Bike Tour is a family affair © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Gospel singers welcome riders to Harlem © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Riders pause to enjoy the Gospel music in Harlem © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com 
Welcome to Harlem© Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
A Manhattan band sends the riders off to the Third Avenue Bridge © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Riders take over the Third Avenue Bridge © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Taking in the atmosphere in the Bronx © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Riding in the Bronx © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear
A band entertains riders in the Bronx © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Biking back into Manhattan © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
For atmosphere, a favorite part of the Five Boro Bike Tour: biking the FDR © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The Street Beat Brass Band plays for riders in Manhattan © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Riding over the famed 59th Street Bridge from Manhattan to Queens © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
A rare view of the iconic Silvercup sign © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The view from the 59th Street Bridge © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Aradia welcomes riders to Astoria, Queens © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Riding the waterfront Astoria Park between the Triborough and 59th Street bridges © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
With 33,000 riders, many make an effort to distinguish themselves, a New York tradition © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The Five Boro Bike Tour is really a tour. Enjoying the view from Astoria Park, Queens © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Welcome to Brooklyn, which has changed its slogan to “Like No Other Place int eh World”” from “fuggedaboutit” (which we get to see when we leave the borough) © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Youngbloods’ Jazz c/o Shanbelle D. Jenkins greet riders to Brooklyn © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
My favorite view of the Brooklyn Bridge as we ride through Brooklyn, but this year, the Empire State Building is hidden by fog © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Once you tackle the hardest climb, one mile to the highest point on the Verrazano Bridge, it’s downhill into the Finish Festival on Staten Island. I did it! © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Food and entertainment greet riders at the Finish Festival on Staten Island © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The four-mile ride from the festival to the Staten Island ferry (not counted in the 40 miles of the Bike Tour) offers some scenic views © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Feeling satisfied and accomplished, riders come off the Staten Island ferry. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

More information about programs, events, recycling a bicycle, resources, and volunteering are at Bike New York, 95 E 45th Street, New York NY 10017, [email protected]. [email protected], Bike.nyc.


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FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces $3 Billion to Replace Toxic Lead Pipes and Deliver Clean Drinking Water to Communities Across the Country

$3 billion in funding from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda will accelerate progress toward the President’s commitment to replace every lead pipe in the country within a decade – that is if Biden and Democrats remain in power. This fact sheet is provided by the White House:

Ashokan Reservoir, New York. $3 billion in funding from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda will accelerate progress toward the President’s commitment to replace every lead pipe in the country within a decade © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Biden believes that every American should be able to turn on the tap and drink clean, safe water. But over 9 million homes, schools, day cares, and businesses receive their water through a lead pipe, putting people at risk of lead exposure. Lead is a neurotoxin that can irreversibly harm brain development in children, and it can also accumulate in the bones and teeth, damage the kidneys, and interfere with the production of red blood cells needed to carry oxygen. Due to decades of inequitable infrastructure development and underinvestment, lead poisoning disproportionately affects low-income communities and communities of color. There is no safe level of exposure to lead. That is why the President made a commitment to replace every lead pipe in the country within a decade and coordinated a whole of government effort to deploy resources and leverage every tool across federal, state and local government to address lead hazards through the Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan

As part of this unprecedented commitment, President Biden traveled to Wilmington, North Carolina, to announce $3 billion through his Investing in America agenda to replace toxic lead pipes. This investment, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is part of the historic $15 billion in dedicated funding for lead pipe replacement provided by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The announcement delivers funding to every state and U.S. territory to help address lead in drinking water while creating good-paying jobs, many of them union jobs. In addition, this program funding is part of the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities, and is helping address the inequities of lead exposure.

Additionally, to further reduce lead exposure, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced nearly $90 million in available funding to reduce residential health hazards in public housing, including lead-based paint hazards, carbon monoxide, mold, radon, fire safety, and asbestos, advancing the President’s Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan.

The announcement from the EPA builds on more than $20 billion in water infrastructure investments that state and local governments have made through the President’s American Rescue Plan. North Carolina has invested close to $2 billion from the American Rescue Plan in more than 800 clean water, wastewater, and stormwater projects across the state and is using another $150 million to test for and remove lead hazards in every school and child care center across the state, a historic effort to remove lead from North Carolina schools.

In Wilmington, North Carolina, President Biden announced $76 million from his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for lead pipe replacement across the state. The President also met with faculty and students from a Wilmington school that replaced a water fountain with high levels of lead with funding from his American Rescue Plan.

EPA estimates North Carolina has an estimated 300,000 lead pipes, and today the President will highlight his goal of replacing every lead pipe in the state. With today’s new investment of $76 million, the President has now delivered $250 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to North Carolina for lead pipe replacement. This funding has already reached over 60 communities across the state to kick start lead pipe identification and replacement efforts.

One of these communities is Wilmington, North Carolina, which has already received over $4 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to identify and replace 325 lead pipes. Today, President Biden is announcing that the first Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded lead pipe replacement in Wilmington is now underway, kicking off this project for the city.

Progress Replacing Lead Pipes Across America

The Biden-Harris Administration is taking action to accelerate lead pipe replacement in communities across the country. The total lead pipe replacement funding announced by the Administration to date will replace up to 1.7 million lead pipes, protecting countless families and children from lead exposure.

To ensure that communities that bear most of the burden of lead exposure are not left behind in this opportunity, EPA and the Department of Labor are partnering directly with disadvantaged communities across the country to provide the support and technical assistance they need to secure funding for and execute lead pipe replacement initiatives. EPA has partnered with over 40 communities to date, and last November announced it would partner with 200 more communities through the EPA Get the Lead Out Initiative.

This work is also creating good-paying jobs, many of them union jobs, in replacing lead pipes – and accelerating the development of a skilled water workforce. Unions including the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, and the International Union of Operating Engineers are already training workers in lead pipe replacement and putting them to work on neighborhood blocks across the country. The EPA estimates that 200,000 jobs have been created by the Administration’s investments in drinking water infrastructure alone.

In addition, last November, EPA issued a proposal to strengthen its Lead and Copper Rule that would require water systems to replace lead pipes within 10 years and drive progress nationwide toward reducing lead exposure.

The examples below highlight several communities where the Administration’s investments are making an impact:

  • In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, $41 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has helped put the city on track to replace all its lead pipes within 10 years instead of the initially estimated 60 years. The city is using a high proportion of union labor to replace lead pipes, and will be one of four new White House Workforce Hub cities that were announced by President Biden last week.
  • Following a lead-in-water crisis, Benton Harbor, Michigan, successfully replaced all its lead pipes within just two years, fueled by $18 million in funding from the President’s American Rescue Plan.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has received $42 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to replace lead pipes, and is on track to replace every lead pipe by 2026. Vice President Harris visited the city in February to highlight this progress in lead pipe replacement and announce new funding for clean water.
  • St. Paul, Minnesota, has received $16 million from the American Rescue Plan to replace lead pipes. This funding has enabled the city’s Lead-Free St. Paul program to target the replacement of all lead pipes by 2032 at no cost to residents.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio, passed an ordinance to develop a program to replace all lead pipes in line with the President’s goal, and authorized covering the cost of replacing private lead pipes that bring water to residents’ homes. A $20 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will support this work.
  • Tucson, Arizona, received $6.95 million to develop a Lead Service Line inventory for their nine public water systems. The city will use this inventory to develop a plan to replace lead service lines in the community and improve drinking water quality for residents – many of whom live in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
  • Denver, Colorado, has replaced almost 25,000 lead service lines since the program launched in 2020. Denver plans to replace another 5,000 this year and is on target to replace 100% by 2031, accelerating its lead pipe replacement due to Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding.
  • Last week, at the White House Water Summit, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative launched its new Great Lakes Lead Pipes Partnership with three of its members – Chicago, Illinois, Detroit, Michigan, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This first-of-its kind, mayor-led effort to accelerate lead pipe replacement in cities with the heaviest lead burdens will provide a collaborative forum for metropolitan areas in the Great Lakes to share emerging best practices to encourage faster, more equitable replacement programs and overcome common challenges, including reducing replacement costs, improving community outreach, and spurring water workforce development.

Broader Administration Actions to Deliver Clean Water

The funding announced today is part of the over $50 billion provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to upgrade the nation’s water infrastructure – the largest investment in clean and safe water in American history. In addition, over $20 billion from the American Rescue Plan has been invested in water infrastructure, including lead pipe replacement, nationwide.

Beyond replacing lead pipes, these broader investments are helping to expand access to clean drinking water, improve wastewater and sanitation infrastructure, and remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in water. The Administration has launched over 1,400 of these projects to deliver clean water to date.

Delivering Clean Drinking Water. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests nearly $31 billion in funding to secure clean drinking water through infrastructure projects such as upgrading aging water mains and improving water treatment plants.

Improving Wastewater and Sanitation Infrastructure. Over 2 million people in the U.S. live without basic running water or sanitation systems in their homes. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests nearly $13 billion to improve wastewater, sanitation, and stormwater infrastructure.

Tackling PFAS Pollution in Water. Exposure to PFAS “forever chemicals” in drinking water is linked to severe health impacts including deadly cancers, liver and heart damage, and developmental impacts in children. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $10 billion to address toxic PFAS pollution in water. In addition, this month EPA announced the first-ever national drinking water standard for PFAS , which will protect 100 million people from PFAS exposure.

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Sets First-Ever National Goal of Zero-Emissions Freight Sector, Announces $1.5 Billion to Support Transition to Zero-Emission Heavy-Duty Vehicles 

The Biden-Harris Administration announced a first-ever national goal to transition to a zero-emissions freight sector for truck, rail, aviation and marine, along with a commitment to develop a national zero-emissions freight strategy, and announces nearly $1.5 billion in funding to support the transition to zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles. This fact sheet is provided by the White House:

Port of New York and New Jersey. The Biden-Harris Administration announced a first-ever national goal to transition to a zero-emissions freight sector for truck, rail, aviation and marine, along with a commitment to develop a national zero-emissions freight strategy, and announces nearly $1.5 billion in funding to support the transition to zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The U.S. freight system is vital to our nation’s economy. Trucks, ships, trains, and planes move 55 million tons of goods worth more than $49 billion every day, across a vast network that is essential to how Americans live and work. But while industry has made progress on reducing emissions from this sector, freight movement continues to represent a significant share of local air pollution, increasing the risk of asthma, heart disease, hospitalization, and other adverse health outcomes for the millions of Americans, especially overburdened communities, who live and work near highways, ports, railyards, warehouses, and other freight routes. The transportation sector is also the largest source of climate pollution in the U.S., with trucks and buses comprising nearly a quarter of emissions from the sector. That’s why President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is supporting solutions that address harmful pollution, and has spurred $165 billion of private sector investments in zero-emission vehicle technologies.
Building on this momentum, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a first-ever national goal to transition to a zero-emissions freight sector for truck, rail, aviation and marine, along with a commitment to develop a national zero-emissions freight strategy. This whole-of-government strategy includes new federal investments announced today, continued engagement with stakeholders on zero-emissions freight infrastructure, and forthcoming action plans on each of the freight segments. The strategy will prioritize actions to address air pollution hot spots and tackle the climate crisis, mobilizing a broad range of government resources, and reflect public participation and meaningful community engagement, furthering the President’s commitment to environmental justice for all. This new commitment to zero-emissions freight aligns with and supports President Biden’s existing goals for a carbon pollution-free energy sector by 2035 and for achieving net-zero emissions from the transportation sector by 2050.It also aligns with the Administration’s commitment to work with other countries to identify pathways and implementation actions that enable zero-emissions medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to reach 30 percent of new sales in 2030 and 100 percent of new sales by 2040. 

Investing in Zero-Emissions Freight Sector
The Administration also unveiled several key steps under the strategy, including major new funding programs, a new initiative to track and accelerate deployment of charging and refueling infrastructure, and a new program to standardize heavy-duty vehicle charging depots:
As part of this commitment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing today a nearly $1 billion funding opportunity for cities, states and Tribes through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to replace Class 6 and Class 7 heavy duty vehicles – which include school buses, trash trucks, and delivery trucks – with zero-emissions vehicles. The funding will support infrastructure to charge, fuel and maintain heavy-duty zero emission vehicles along with workforce development and training to get this work done. Under the requirements of the Inflation Reduction Act, at least $400 million of the program’s funding will serve communities dealing with significant air pollution. Projects supported through this program will reduce air and noise pollution, improve public health, and create good-paying clean energy jobs.  
The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the first tranche of its $400 million Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program to improve air quality and reduce pollution for truck drivers, port workers and families that live in communities surrounding ports. The Department of Energy (DOE) is also announcing a $72 million investment to establish a “SuperTruck: Charged” program that will demonstrate how vehicle-grid integration enables depots and truck stops to provide affordable, reliable charging while increasing grid resiliency.
Convening Stakeholders to Accelerate the Transition to Zero-Emissions Freight
The Administration is bringing together stakeholders from commercial truck fleets, ports, vehicle manufacturers, state and local governments, utilities, infrastructure providers, climate and environmental justice organizations for a convening at the White House focused on supercharging the buildout of the infrastructure necessary to make a zero-emissions freight ecosystem a reality in the United States. Today’s convening on zero-emissions freight infrastructure is designed to launch a series of engagements aimed at tackling emissions from the movement of goods across the nation and recognizes the great progress made already by leaders in freight decarbonization. The roundtable will mobilize action towards successfully implementing the National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy, with special attention paid to infrastructure targets from 2024 to 2027, and will provide Administration officials with insight into the opportunities and challenges facing communities looking to set actionable goals, integrate new planning methodologies, and protect people’s health.
Building on the Administration’s Freight Policies
The announcements build on the Administration’s ongoing work across federal agencies to tackle emissions from America’s freight system. 

  • Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization: In January 2023, DOE, EPA, DOT, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) jointly released the U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization. Building on this work, the Biden-Haris Administration is coordinating with each of these agencies to draft a series of decarbonization strategies for each segment of the freight system.
  • Zero-Emissions Freight Corridor Strategy: Last month, the Joint Office, in collaboration with DOE, DOT, and EPA, released the National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy, a vision for the development of charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure along high-volume freight highways and hubs by 2040. To complement this multi-phase strategy, DOT designated National Electric Vehicle Freight Corridors along the National Highway Freight Network and other key roadways.
  • Heavy Duty Vehicle Regulations: In December 2022, EPA finalized standards to reduce emissions that form smog and soot from Model Year 2027 and later heavy-duty engines and in March 2024, the agency finalized new greenhouse gas emission standards from heavy-duty vehicles for Model Years 2027-2032. The standards will avoid 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions and provide $13 billion in annualized net benefits to society related to public health, the climate, and savings for truck owners and operators. The final standards will also reduce dangerous air pollution, especially for the 72 million people in the United States who live near truck freight routes, bear the burden of higher levels of pollution, and are more likely to be people of color or come from low-income households.

Advancing Environmental Justice for All
Throughout the process of building a strategy to implement this new goal to transition to a zero-emissions freight ecosystem, the Biden-Harris Administration will provide opportunities for meaningful engagement from relevant stakeholders, including communities with environmental justice concerns, Tribal Nations, state and local governments, manufacturers of heavy-duty vehicles and equipment, fleets and freight operators, and climate and environmental justice organizations. Such engagement will ensure the federal government’s actions to reduce emissions are better targeted, more effective, and reflect the priorities of community groups that have frontline experience with air pollution from the freight sector.
Disparities in ambient air quality have widened over the last decade even as air pollution levels have fallen, and the burden of persistent levels of elevated air pollution remains more heavily borne by communities of color and low-income families. While 120 million Americans live in places with unhealthy air quality, a higher percentage of the exposed population are people of color, who experience nearly eight times higher rates of pediatric asthma and 1.3 times higher risk of dying prematurely from exposure to pollutants. High levels of air pollution are often found in neighborhoods ringed by factories or next to highways, despite most sources meeting emission standards.
President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that every person has a right to breathe clean air and live in a healthy community – now and into the future. That is why, during his first week in office, President Biden signed Executive Order 14008, launching the most ambitious environmental justice agenda in our Nation’s history. To continue delivering on that vision, last year President Biden signed Executive Order 14096 focused on ensuring environmental justice for all people, further embedding environmental justice into the work of federal agencies to achieve real, measurable progress that communities can count on.
As the Biden-Harris Administration leads an all-of-government approach to cut pollution from heavy-duty vehicles, it will build on ongoing work and structure to further advance environmental justice, including:

  • Commitment to Identifying and Investing in Disadvantaged Communities: Established in his first week in office, the President’s Justice40 Initiative set a goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy, clean transit, and other investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. To date, 518 programs across 19 federal agencies, including 74 Inflation Reduction Act-funded programs, are being reimagined and transformed to  meet the Justice40 goal and ensure the benefits reach the communities that need them most, including cleaner air and accessible public transit. Federal agencies are making this happen with the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool, which is used to identify disadvantaged communities that benefit from the Justice40 Initiative.

Environmental Justice Across the Federal Government: Agencies across the Biden-Harris Administration, including DOT, DOE, and EPA, are pursuing a suite of actions that advance environmental justice, including through grants, strategic planning, and collaborative partnerships, and by strengthening public health protections under the Clean Air Act to reduce air pollution from mobile and stationary sources (e.g., revised ambient air quality standards, updated emission standards for passenger cars, commercial trucks and buses).

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Support, Strengthen Teaching Profession; White House Hosts First-Ever State Dinner Honoring Teachers

Ahead of Teacher Appreciation Week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced new efforts to strengthen the teaching profession and support schools across the country, including actions to increase teacher recruitment and retention, new data on how fixes to Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) are benefitting teachers in every state and Congressional district, and new funding to increase pipelines for special education teachers. This fact sheet is provided by the White House:

The Biden-Harris Administration announced new efforts to strengthen the teaching profession and support schools across the country, including actions to increase teacher recruitment and retention (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Our nation’s teachers prepare and inspire the next generation of leaders who are critical to our future. President Biden has been clear since day one that to address these long-standing staffing challenges facing our schools, exacerbated by the pandemic, teachers, paraprofessionals, and other school staff need to be paid competitively and treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve, including through improved working conditions for staff and learning conditions for students.
First Lady Jill Biden, a life-long educator, is hosting the first-ever Teachers of the Year State Dinner at the White House to honor the 2024 National Teacher of the Year, Missy Testerman, and state teachers of the year from across the United States for their excellence in education.  
The Biden-Harris Administration has strengthened the teaching profession by:

  • Encouraging states to increase teacher pay, with 30 states and the District of Columbia taking action to raise teacher pay. To support COVID-19 recovery, the Administration secured $130 billion for the largest-ever investment in public education in history through the American Rescue Plan provided to more than 15,000 school districts and secured nearly $2 billion in additional Title I funding to date; both funding streams can be used to support teacher salaries in our most underserved schools. These funds can also be used to support high-quality teacher pipeline programs and hire more professionals across the education workforce.
  • Fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which has helped nearly 876,000 borrowers engaged in public service – such as teachers – have their federal student loans forgiven. Prior to the Biden-Harris Administration, only 7,000 borrowers had received relief under this program.
  • Returning schools to pre-pandemic staffing levels. While teacher shortages remain, staffing at schools has recovered above pre-pandemic levels, including 40 percent more social workers and 25 percent more nurses, providing critical supports to students that also helps support teaching and learning.
  • Expanding Registered Teacher Apprenticeship programs to 34 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, providing an affordable and high-quality path to become a teacher in communities across the country. 

  • Securing a total of nearly $2.7 billion of investment in teachers in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget to help states and communities address teacher shortages, including in areas such as special education, Career and Technical Education, and bilingual education, and in underserved communities, through increased teacher recruitment, support, and retention.

 Additional details on these actions are described further below.
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new actions to support teachers:

  • Establishing a new technical assistance center to help states and communities increase teacher recruitment and retention. This week, the Department of Education will release a Notice of Final Priorities and a Notice Inviting Applications and for the Comprehensive Centers grant program, which will support a Center on Strengthening and Supporting the Educator Workforce. This new Center will provide universal and targeted intensive capacity-building services designed to support States as they in turn support their districts, schools and partners in designing and scaling practices that establish and enhance high-quality, comprehensive, evidence-based, and affordable educator pathways (including educator residency and Grow Your Own programs, and emerging pathways into the profession such as registered apprenticeship programs for teachers), and in improving educator diversity, recruitment, and retention. 
  • Providing data from each Congressional district showing the effects of the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to fix the PSLF program. The data released today shows the distribution across the country of $62.8 billion in approved debt relief across 876,000 borrowers in every state and Congressional district. These are individuals who worked for at least 10 years in public service while repaying their loans.
  • Increasing funding to support a strong pipeline of special education teachers. To date, the Administration has secured a $25 million increase in funding for the Personnel Preparation grant program under Part D of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act compared to the beginning of the Administration, a 28 percent increase dedicated to growing our nation’s supply of special educators – a persistent shortage area. Funding under this grant can be used to support the preparation and development of special educators, including increasing the supply of special education faculty available to establish or scale up preparation programs for special educators at institutions of higher education. In the coming week, the Department will make about $10 million in new awards to grantees implementing programs under Part D of IDEA to help shore up the supply of special educators nationwide.

These announcements build on actions the Biden-Harris Administration have taken since day one to support our nation’s teachers. To date, the Administration has:

  • Supported a strong educator workforce jobs recovery and helped rehire through the American Rescue Plan. As a result of the President’s decisive action to provide our schools with historic funds through the American Rescue Plan, we now have more people working in public schools than before the pandemic. Our schools lost hundreds of thousands of local public education jobs in just three months during the pandemic. Since President Biden took office, schools have added 638,000 education jobs. As of March 2024, there were 23,000 more employees in local public education than in February 2020. But there is still work to do. Teacher shortages remain and vary significantly across communities, disproportionately impacting students of color, students with disabilities, English learners, and students from low-income backgrounds.
  • Increased investments by $112 million in preparing, recruiting, developing, and retaining teachers since the beginning of this Administration. As a result of the additional funds the Administration has secured in these programs since the beginning of the Administration and through FY23, an additional $112 million has been invested in supporting educators through Department of Education’s competitive grant programs, in addition to the tens of billions invested in staffing through the American Rescue Plan. For example, the Administration has increased annual funding for the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant program by 34 percent, which supports year-long teacher residency programs that have been shown to increase teacher effectiveness, retention, and diversity.
  • Funded educator diversity efforts nationwide. The Administration has prioritized efforts to increase educator diversity across 15 competitive grant programs that support teacher preparation, development, recruitment, and retention. These programs awarded nearly $450 million to 263 grantees, 92 percent of which were to grantees that addressed specific priorities related to educator diversity. For example, this year the Department plans to award $15 million to fund up to 27 new awards to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) through the Augustus F. Hawkins program, which works to increase the numbers of diverse personnel in early intervention, special education, and related services.
  • Expanded high-quality teacher preparation programs through Registered Teacher Apprenticeships. At the beginning of this Administration, there were no Registered Apprenticeship Programs for teachers. Today, there are registered programs in 34 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These programs can serve to provide affordable and high-quality pathways into the profession, allowing apprentices to earn a salary and benefits while they prepare to become a teacher, including by scaling up evidence-based Grow Your Own and Teacher Residency programs, which help to increase teacher retention, effectiveness, and diversity.
  • Relieved teacher student loan debt through forgiveness, repayment, and grant programs. The Administration has approved almost $160 billion in student debt forgiveness for nearly 4.6 million borrowers through various actions, including $62.8 billion in forgiveness for almost 876,000 borrowers through fixes to PSLF. The Administration has also secured the largest increase to Pell Grants in a decade and launched the new SAVE plan – the most affordable student loan repayment plan ever. The Administration estimates that a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree would save $17,000 in payments on the SAVE plan while seeking PSLF. This Administration also implemented changes to the TEACH Grant program to support teacher recruitment and retention in our most underserved communities. The TEACH Grant provides up to $16,000 to undergraduate and graduate students who commit to teaching in a high-need field and school serving students from low-income backgrounds for four years.
  • Secured first-ever funding for the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Grants. The Department held the first-ever competition for the Augustus F. Hawkins Grant program, awarding $23 million to date to teacher preparation programs at HBCUs, TCCUs, and MSIs to increase the number of well-prepared teacher candidates, including teacher candidates of color and bilingual and multilingual educators, in the field. The Department is currently administering an additional competition for the Hawkins grant program with $15 million in funding available, with applications due in June 2024.
  • Launched a campaign to elevate the teaching profession and call for increasing teacher pay. The Department launched “Teachers: Leaders Shaping Lives” – a campaign to elevate the teaching profession and promote educator diversity. The new Public Service Announcement was developed in partnership with TEACH.org and the One Million Teachers of Color Campaign at the Hunt Institute. This Administration believes that educators should be treated with dignity and respect and receive the pay they deserve – and has encouraged all states to increase compensation so that teachers are paid a livable and competitive wage. Since the 2021-22 school year, 30 states and the District of Columbia have taken action at the state level to increase teacher pay.
  • Provided extensive Technical Assistance and Guidance on how to use federal and other resources to implement evidence-based strategies to support teacher preparation, recruitment, retention, development, and advancement. This includes; (1) establishing the Strengthening and Diversifying the Educator Workforce Workgroup which brings together States from across the country to share resources and discuss lessons learned and best practices for supporting teacher development, recruitment, retention and diversity; (2) updating guidance on the use of Perkins V funds to improve the recruitment, preparation, retention, and growth of future educators, including Career and Technical Education teachers; (3) issuing a collection of seven briefs outlining the most common challenges related to recruiting and retaining teachers from underrepresented backgrounds or with certain certifications; (4) sharing best practices, key resources, and making data on job recovery, educator preparation, educator diversity, and compensation, and other related issues easier to access and use through the Department’s Raise the Bar: Eliminating Educator Shortages website; and (5) issuing guidance on how American Rescue Plan funds can be used to stabilize the teacher workforce and support teacher well-being.

 First Lady Jill Biden Hosts First-Ever “Teachers of the Year” State Dinner

To further demonstrate their appreciation for teachers, First Lady Jill Biden hosted the first-ever “Teachers of the Year” State Dinner at the White House. The event honored the 2024 National Teacher of the Year, Missy Testerman from Tennessee, and the State Teachers of the Year from across the country for their excellence in teaching and commitment to students’ learning. 

“Tonight, we celebrate you, because teaching isn’t just a job, it’s a calling, and all of you were called to this profession for a reason,” Dr. Biden said in her welcoming remarks. “You believe that a better world is possible – and you make that world real, one student at a time. To answer the call of teaching, is in itself, an act of hope. You look at your students and don’t just see who they are today – you see all the possibility of tomorrow. You help them find the light within themselves, and that light lives on in all of you.”
As a classroom teacher for over 30 years, Dr. Biden continues to teach English and writing at Northern Virginia Community College, where she has been a professor since 2009. From championing teacher recruitment and retention, opportunities for career-connected learning, and more affordable options for education after high school, including free community college, Dr. Biden continues to shine a spotlight on educators and the teaching profession. This is the fourth year Dr. Biden has welcomed the National and State Teachers of the Year for a celebration at the White House.

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the U.S. Department of Education, American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association are supporting this event. CCSSO oversees the National Teacher of the Year Program, which identifies exceptional teachers across the country, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, engages them in a year of professional learning, and amplifies their voices. 
More information about the program and a list of the 2024 State Teachers of the Year can be found HERE.
First Lady Jill Biden and Social Secretary Carlos Elizondo worked with White House Chief Floral Designer Hedieh Ghaffarian to create a guest experience that honors the 2024 Teachers of the Year and celebrates our nation’s educators.

Each of the 2024 State Teachers of the Year received a commemorative brass bell from the First Lady, continuing a tradition she started in 2021 in honor of her grandmother, a fellow educator and the person who inspired her to become a teacher.  Irises, the official state flower of Tennessee, Mrs. Testerman’s home state, were incorporated in the floral arrangements. A personalized gold painted apple served as the place card holder at the place settings for the 2024 Teachers of the Year.

The décor was inspired by classrooms across the country, and the official flags of the states and territories of the 2024 State Teachers of the Year lined the East Portico entrance, greeting honorees and guests upon arrival to the White House. 

Organized by each teacher’s school principal, when the 2024 Teachers of the Year arrived to their seats, they were surprised with a handmade, personalized thank you note from their students, fellow teachers, and school leadership. 

President Biden Awards19 Recipients With the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Who the President chooses to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom says so much about his values. Here are the 19 recipients who will be receiving this honor:

Nancy Pelosi who was the first woman to serve as the Speaker of the House and wearing white at the 2020 State of the Union in solidarity with Suffragists, famously ripped up Trump’s speech. She is being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Biden for being a staunch defender of democracy © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In a White House ceremony today, President Biden is presenting 19 recipients with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.
President Biden often says there is nothing beyond our capacity when we act together. These nineteen Americans built teams, coalitions, movements, organizations, and businesses that shaped America for the better. They are the pinnacle of leadership in their fields. They consistently demonstrated over their careers the power of community, hard work, and service.
The individuals who are being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom are:
Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and three-term mayor. He revolutionized the financial information industry and transformed New York City’s education, environment, public health, and the arts.
Gregory J. Boyle
Father Greg Boyle is a Jesuit Catholic priest who is the founder and director of Homeboy Industries, the world’s largest gang-intervention and rehabilitation program. He has helped thousands of Angelenos turn their lives around.
James E. Clyburn
Representative Jim Clyburn is the former Assistant Democratic Leader and Majority Whip in the United States House of Representatives. Through three decades in the House, Representative Clyburn has transformed the lives of millions of Americans and created a freer country.
Elizabeth Dole
Senator Elizabeth Dole has served her country as a trailblazing United States Senator, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Labor, and President of the American Red Cross. She leads by example through her Foundation’s support for military caregivers and their families.
Phil Donahue
Phil Donahue is a journalist and television pioneer who pioneered the daytime issue-oriented television talk show. Donahue was the first daytime talk show to feature audience participation and one of the most influential televisions programs of its time.
Medgar Wiley Evers (posthumous)
Medgar Evers (d. 1963) fought for his country in World War II and returned home to lead the fight against segregation in Mississippi. After he was murdered at his home at age 37, his wife Myrlie continued the fight to seek justice and equality in his name.
Al Gore
Al Gore is a former Vice President, United States Senator, and member of the House of Representatives. After winning the popular vote, he accepted the outcome of a disputed presidential election for the sake of our unity. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for his bold action on climate change.
Clarence B. Jones
Clarence B. Jones is a renowned civil rights activist and lawyer who helped draft Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Jones was instrumental in preserving Dr. King’s legacy and remains an outspoken force against hate.
John Forbes Kerry
Secretary John Kerry is a former Secretary of State, United States Senator, and the first Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. His bravery in combat during the Vietnam War earned him the Silver Star and Bronze Star, and history will remember his public service career that has spanned seven decades.
Frank R. Lautenberg (posthumous)
Senator Frank Lautenberg (d. 2013) was a five-term United States Senator and New Jersey’s longest-serving Senator. He is remembered for his critical work on environmental protection and consumer safety across a number of fields.
Kathleen Genevieve Ledecky
Katie Ledecky is the most decorated female swimmer in history. An athletic prodigy, she has won seven Olympic gold medals and twenty-one world championship gold medals so far. She will continue to compete for the Nation who watches her in awe.
Opal Lee
Opal Lee is an educator and activist known for her efforts to make Juneteenth a federally recognized holiday. More than 150 years after that day in Texas, she joined President Biden to officially make Juneteenth a national holiday in 2021.
Ellen Ochoa
Ellen Ochoa is the first Hispanic woman in space and the second female Director of NASA’s renowned Johnson Space Center. Dr. Ochoa has flown in space four times, logged nearly 1,000 hours in orbit, and continues to inspire young generations of scientists.
Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi served as the 52nd Speaker of the House and has represented San Francisco in Congress for more than 36 years. A staunch defender of democracy, she has shaped legislative agendas and Democratic priorities for decades.
Jane Rigby
Jane Rigby, an astronomer who grew up in Delaware, is the chief scientist of the world’s most powerful telescope. A prolific researcher, Dr. Rigby embodies the American spirit of adventure and wonder.
Teresa Romero
Teresa Romero is the president of the United Farm Workers and the first Latina to become president of a national union in the United States. She has secured key victories to improve the lives of the workers who feed and fuel our Nation.
Judy Shepard
Judy Shepard is the co-founder of the Matthew Shephard Foundation, an organization created in honor of her son who was murdered in one of the nation’s most notorious anti-gay hate crimes. Her work has driven tremendous progress in our fight to give hate no safe harbor.

A small town in Pennsylvania changed its name to Jim Thorpe to inspire interest in visiting. The first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal is being honored posthumously by President Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

James Francis Thorpe (posthumous)
Jim Thorpe (d. 1953) was the first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal. The country’s original multi-sport superstar, he went on to play professional football, baseball, and basketball while breaking down barriers on and off the field.
Michelle Yeoh
Michelle Yeoh is an actress known for her groundbreaking work in a number of blockbusters over four decades. Recently, she became the first Asian to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. Yeoh continues to shatter stereotypes and enrich American culture.

Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Expands Health Coverage to DACA Recipients

President Biden announces final rule that will allow eligible DACA recipients to enroll in Affordable Care Act coverage. Some 100,000 DACA recipients are expected to take advantage of this opportunity. This fact sheet is provided by the White House:

During his State of the Union address, President Biden called for Congress to pass comprehensive Immigration Reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. Republicans blocked bipartisan reform legislation, but Biden is expanding eligibility for DACA recipients to enroll in the Affordable Care Act. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Biden-Harris Administration is expanding access to affordable, quality health care coverage to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.  In 2012, President Obama and then Vice President Biden created the DACA policy to transform the lives of eligible Dreamers – young people who came to this country as children—allowing them to live and work lawfully in our country.  Over the last decade, DACA has brought stability, possibility, and progress to hundreds of thousands of Dreamers. 
While President Biden continues to call on Congress to provide a pathway to citizenship to Dreamers and others, he is committed to protecting and preserving DACA and providing Dreamers with the opportunities and support they need to succeed, including access to affordable, quality health care coverage.  Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s actions, today’s final rule will remove the prohibition on DACA recipients’ eligibility for Affordable Care Act coverage for the first time, and is projected to help more than 100,000 young people gain health insurance.  Starting in November, DACA recipients can apply for coverage through HealthCare.gov and state-based marketplaces, where they may qualify for financial assistance to help them purchase quality health insurance. Four out of five consumers have found a plan for less than $10 a month, with millions saving an average of about $800 a year on their premiums.
President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that health care should be a right, not a privilege. Together, they promised to protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act, lowering costs and expanding coverage so that every American has the peace of mind that health insurance brings.  Today’s final rule delivers on the President’s commitment by giving DACA recipients that same peace and opportunity.  
Today’s rule also reinforces the President’s enduring commitment to DACA recipients and Dreamers, who contribute daily to the strength and vitality of our communities and our country.  On day one of his Administration, President Biden committed to preserving and fortifying the DACA policy.  While only Congress can provide Dreamers permanent status and a pathway to citizenship, the Biden-Harris Administration has continued to vigorously defend DACA against ongoing legal challenges and strengthened DACA by codifying the 2012 policy in a final rule.  

Statement from President Joe Biden:

Today, my Administration is expanding affordable, quality health care coverage to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. Dreamers are our loved ones, our nurses, teachers, and small business owners. And they deserve the promise of health care just like all of us.
Nearly twelve years ago, President Obama and I announced the DACA program to allow our young people to live and work in the only country they’ve called home. Since then, DACA has provided more than 800,000 Dreamers with the ability to work lawfully, pursue an education, and contribute their immense talents to make our communities better and stronger.
I’m proud of the contributions of Dreamers to our country and committed to providing Dreamers the support they need to succeed. That’s why I’ve previously directed the Department of Homeland Security to take all appropriate actions to “preserve and fortify” DACA. And that’s why today we are taking this historic step to ensure that DACA recipients have the same access to health care through the Affordable Care Act as their neighbors.
On Day One of my administration, I sent a comprehensive immigration reform plan to Congress to protect Dreamers and their families. Only Congress can provide Dreamers permanent status and a pathway to citizenship. Congress must act.

Statement from Vice President Kamala Harris:

Dreamers throughout this country are serving in our military, teaching in our classrooms, and leading our small businesses as entrepreneurs. They are our neighbors, classmates, and loved ones. Our nation is fortunate that America is their home.
Thanks to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), more than 800,000 Dreamers have been able to live, study, and work in the only home they have ever known while making our nation a better place. It is why I fought to defend and protect DACA as Attorney General of California and a U.S. Senator from California.
Now as Vice President, I have worked alongside President Biden to take steps to preserve and fortify DACA. Today, we are building on this progress by ensuring DACA recipients also have access to affordable health care, which will improve the health of all communities. This announcement will bring relief to more than 100,000 people and help them thrive while working to achieve their aspirations.
President Biden and I will continue to do everything in our power to protect DACA, but it is only a temporary solution. Congress must act to ensure Dreamers have the permanent protections they deserve.

Contrast to Trump Position on DACA, ACA

In stark contrast to Biden’s support of DACA and ACA, Trump tried to dismantle the DACA program which had protected 700,000 young people who were brought to this country as children from deportation, eventually losing at the Supreme Court.

And Trump tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act – failed – and is vowing to try again if he wins in November. What this would mean for Americans:

  • More than 100 million Americans with preexisting conditions could be denied coverage or charged more
  • 40 million people’s health insurance coverage at risk
  • Health care costs would increase for the millions of Americans
  • Young adults up to age 26 could be kicked off their parent’s health care plan