Read a PDF of our statement here.

Today, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order to “Strengthen Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Across the Federal Government,” building upon the E.O. he signed on his first day in office. It adds several new requirements to advance racial equity, while also strengthening or changing several parts of the original E.O. to codify existing practices.

In response to today’s E.O., Legal Defense Fund (LDF) President and Director-Counsel Janai Nelson issued the following statement:

“We commend President Biden on today’s Executive Order and strongly support the creation of a new, annual process for federal agencies to formally assess and address the needs of communities of color and the racial equity impediments that prevent our communities from accessing the programs provided by agencies across the federal government. For too long, Black communities and other communities of color have been systemically discriminated against at every level of government and have paid a multi-generational price for it.

“It is an encouraging step in the right direction that President Biden is instructing federal agencies to use their civil rights authorities, offices, and resources – including increasing the share of federal contracting dollars awarded to small disadvantaged businesses – to address racial equity and to do so in partnership with community-based organizations that more holistically understand the needs of the people they serve.

“Importantly, today’s E.O. also recognizes and acts upon the need to both counteract and remedy the impact of algorithmic bias and discrimination that is so prevalent in our highly technological world, while ensuring that the federal government itself is not contributing to these same challenges. LDF looks forward to working with the Administration to ensure the implementation of today’s E.O. has a long-lasting positive impact on the  well-being of Black communities and other communities of color.”


Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.