PHOENIX – Today Arizona Democrats were proud to see President Biden sign a series of executive actions on equity policy, addressing police reform, prison reform, and public housing. The issues being confronted in these executive actions will have far-reaching effects on communities of color, especially the Black community here in Arizona.
The President’s order will create a policing commission. Policing reform has been long overdue in our state and throughout the country. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Arizona Democratic elected officials requested a special session in the State Legislature to address police reform.
The President’s executive action also seeks to improve prison conditions and eliminate the use of private prisons. Arizona has also long suffered from over-incarceration of Black men. A 2018 report found that between the years 2000 and 2016, Black men were disproportionately imprisoned. In 2016 alone they represented 14 percent of Arizona’s prison population while African Americans accounted for only 4 percent of the state’s population.
These executive actions will also advance racial equity and include a mandate for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to promote equitable housing policies. The homeownership gap is just one of several economic disparities facing Black Arizonans. Among housing statistics cited in a broad Prosperity Now report on Arizona, more than twice as many white residents of this state were homeowners compared with Black residents (71.5% compared with 35.2%), and Black households were more burdened by housing costs, whether as owners or renters.
Arizona Democratic Party Chair, Raquel Terán, issued the following statement:
“Today reaffirms that Democrats are committed to racial equity. The pursuit of equity is more than just aspirational policy that seeks to address the issues of the present, it’s also about recognizing and addressing the fact that communities of color are starting at a real disadvantage.
“Our party knows that when any community does not have representation their voices are not heard, and this has been the case for far too long. We are thrilled to see these actions being taken from the top of our Government that will enact positive change in communities of color, especially the Black community.
“We need policing reform, we need fair and just housing policy, and we need to confront xenophobia in our society – that starts with being honest about our past failings. Today’s orders are a step in the right direction but there is more work that needs to be done. Arizona Democrats will continue to fight for communities of color and move our state towards a more equitable future.”