Joy Comes in the Morning
January 8, 2021
By Shavar Jeffries
‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.’
A fitting verse when I think of this week—a week where hope and possibility overshadowed the darkness.
Over the past few days, we’ve witnessed diverse and historic candidates appointed to some of the highest offices in this nation—including leaders with demonstrated records of advancing civil rights protections and racial equity.
President-elect Biden was certified as the 46th President of the United States, while Vice President-elect Harris was certified as the first woman and first woman of color to her office—a remarkable, and long-awaited moment for our nation.
Adding to a historically diverse 117th Congress, Rev. Raphael Warnock became the first Black Democrat from the South to be elected to the United States Senate and Jon Ossoff became the first Jewish senator to be elected to a southern state since the 1880s.
With their victories, Democrats took back the U.S. Senate, thanks to strong turnout—particularly among Black voters, paving the way for Biden to pass bold, progressive policies impacting education, voting rights, criminal justice reform, and other critical issues.
Yesterday’s key appointments to the Department of Justice also signaled Biden’s commitment to civil rights and racial justice, particularly with the appointments of Vanita Gupta as Associate Attorney General and Kristen Clarke as Assistant Attorney General for The Civil Rights Division—two of the most respected civil rights attorneys in America.
Clarke—who has secured landmark agreements concerning the school-to-prison pipeline, education discrimination, disability rights, gender inequity and LGBT issues— will be responsible for enforcing Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and protecting our nation’s students from harassment and discrimination.
After four years of a Trump administration that not only abdicated the federal government’s role of promoting accountability and compliance with civil rights laws, but actively rolled back these protections for women, communities of color, people with disabilities or LGBTQ people, Biden’s appointments signal a new day for our nation.
There’s no question that the road ahead will be challenging, but I am optimistic about the future, and fired up for the work ahead.
Shavar Jeffries serves as National President for Democrats for Education Reform.
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