The election drama is mostly over. The Electoral College is done. We finally know: Joe Biden will be the 46th president, and Kamala Harris will be many firsts as vice president: Black, South Asian, woman, mom.
Yes, this is a moment to exhale and be hopeful: for policies that seek less racism, less hate, more love, and an economy that works for everyone.
But keep your masks on. Almost everything that was falling apart before the election is still falling apart. Our political and cultural divisions are deep. More than 300,000 Americans are dead from a virus almost no one heard of a year ago. Thousands of small businesses and millions of jobs are gone, some never to return. Mortgages and rents are due, eviction moratoriums are running out, coronavirus is raging and winter is coming.
In other words, let’s be real. This won’t be easy. Trump didn’t create all of our problems. Biden and Harris won’t solve them all in the next four years, or on their own. A great deal is on us.
We need to rebuild and revive devastated communities and regain trust in essential institutions and systems. That includes the systems and community development “anchors” that NCRC works to improve: financial services, housing and small business.
But it also includes others that need to be accessible and excellent for everyone, like education, healthcare, elections, the environment, broadband networks and our food system. We need to solve the racial wealth divide and erase the gender pay gap.
That’s why we need each other, now more than ever. Leaders listen when NCRC members speak out on public policy, and they notice when hundreds of messages turn into thousands. Now, we need to inspire and activate even more. We need to ignite the imaginations and amplify the voices of millions of Americans who are already committed, in their hearts, to a Just Economy. We need to come together, be more visible, and connect scattered networks, leaders and organizations dedicated to solving a wide range of issues. We need to strengthen and enforce fair housing and fair lending laws, like the Community Reinvestment Act, expand wealth-building opportunities such as homeownership and tackle the lack of affordable housing. And yes, we need to go further – to not only express but truly fulfill the nation’s commitment to equality. That’s going to require bold leadership and investments from the private sector too.
We’ll soon see new directions on federal banking and housing policy, immigration, racial justice, the economy and so much more. We’re already engaged with the Biden team and aiming for meaningful progress on America’s toughest issues. But there’s a lot of work ahead for all of us.
Jesse Van Tol is NCRC’s Chief Executive Officer
Learn more about NCRC membership for organizations, and how individuals can join and support NCRC’s work to make a Just Economy a national priority and a local reality.