Columbia calls on Biden to appoint a 'Secretary of Racial Justice'

A Columbia University think tank recommended that President Joe Biden appoint a “Secretary of Racial Justice."

The group also recommends a “federal jobs guarantee program” and increased housing security initiatives.

A group of academics at Columbia University recommended that President Joe Biden appoint a “Secretary of Racial Justice” to his Cabinet.

Columbia University highlighted on its official website Columbia University Justice Lab’s Square One Project, which published several suggestions for Biden’s first days in office.

According to its website, the Square One Project is an incubator “all about imagining a future for justice and public safety that starts from scratch — from square one — instead of tinkering at the edges or cherry-picking cordoned-off areas for reform.” 

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The group points to “decades of neglect around communities with chronic poverty and the twin crises of ingrained racism.”

Among these suggestions is the appointment of a “Secretary of Racial Justice” to his Cabinet, who would be “responsible for coordinating actions across the administration to correct the impact of racial disparities.”

Following the model of cities like San Francisco, Charlottesville, and Pittsburgh — which have Offices of Racial Justice — President Biden’s adviser would “propose bold policy solutions that tackle the legacy of systemic racism in America and promote equity, mobility, and healing.”

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In addition to the appointment of a Secretary of Racial Justice, the Square One Project recommends that Biden address poverty and “reimagine the carceral system” in his first 100 days.

To address poverty, the group recommends a “federal jobs guarantee program” that would assist Americans — including formerly incarcerated individuals — with finding work. This aspect of the plan also calls for increased housing security efforts.

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To reform the prison system, the group asks that the Biden administration not merely “define safety as the absence of crime, but also as the presence of opportunity.”

Campus Reform previously reported on a similar call from a University of Virginia professor, who called on then President-elect Biden to appoint a “Secretary of Equity.”

Campus Reform reached out to members of the Square One Project for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

The White House did not return a request for comment.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft