Tag Archive for: equity

Executive Order Calls for Creating Rural Economic Opportunity

Building on previous equity efforts that began his first day in office, an Executive Order issued by President Biden on February 16 asserts that the federal government will “invest in communities where Federal policies have historically impeded equal opportunity — both rural and urban — in ways that mitigate economic displacement, expand access to capital, preserve housing and neighborhood affordability, root out discrimination in the housing market, and build community wealth.”

The President’s directive also covers health, environmental justice, education, and other topics. It defines equity to include not only racial/ethnic and geographic equity, but also equitable treatment of individuals and communities based on religion, gender, gender identity and sexual preference, disability, and persistent poverty or inequality.

Particularly relevant to the work of HAC and our partners is the EO’s commitment to “build prosperity in rural communities”:

Agencies shall undertake efforts, to the extent consistent with applicable law, to help rural communities identify and access Federal resources in order to create equitable economic opportunity and advance projects that build community wealth, including by providing or supporting technical assistance; incentivizing the creation of good, high-paying union jobs in rural areas; conducting outreach to and soliciting input from rural community leaders; and contributing new resources and support to interagency programs such as the Rural Partners Network.

The EO tells federal agencies to establish Equity Teams, which will support their agencies’ external activities as well as training and diversity efforts with agency staff. A White House Steering Committee on Equity will coordinate overall activities.


Policy News from the Administration

HAC Supports USDA’s Interest in Racial Justice, Equity, and Underserved Communities

Federal policy and programs benefit some areas of the United States while harming others. HAC was pleased to see the Administration’s Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, published on President Biden’s first day in office. In Section 2 of that Order, we were glad to see “persons who live in rural areas” included in the list of groups who need to be granted “consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment.” Further, we were glad to see “geographic communities” a category that should be considered when determining an “underserved community.”

On this basis, HAC supports USDA’s efforts to advance justice and equity for communities underserved by USDA itself and by others. HAC’s comments submitted in response to USDA’s request for information on Identifying Barriers in USDA Programs and Services; Advancing Racial Justice and Equity and Support for Underserved Communities at USDA address actions that are necessary in several areas. Building capacity, improving access to capital, increasing flexibility, and engaging with stakeholders are among the subjects addressed in HAC’s comments.

In a similar vein, HAC also recently commented on an administration request for input on equity across all federal agencies.