(PART 23) The First 100 Days:
LGBTQ Rights, Racial Equality, and Reproductive Justice
Joe Biden commenced his Presidential term with the promise to “Build Back Better”, an ambitious agenda that included various commitments to remedy detrimental policies around race and gender equity, LGBTQ rights, immigration, and reproductive justice. As we approach the end of Biden’s first 100 days, we look back to examine how well the administration has lived up to their promises, under what continue to be extraordinary times of social inequality. At this very moment, we are reckoning with a spate of state-sanctioned police shootings of Black people. The Biden Administration has indicated that it will maintain some Trump-era immigration restrictions. Reproductive rights continue to be significantly curtailed in some conservative states, and transgender children have been marked out by draconian legislation which threatens their access to gender-affirming treatment, while also limiting their potential athletic participation.
This episode of Under The Blacklight will examine how well the Biden administration has responded to issues of racial justice, LGBTQ rights, immigration rights, reproductive justice during its first 100 days. In addition, we explore what are the long-term impacts of the policies and executive orders that have been implemented? How has conservative ideology impeded the critical work being done to advance the causes of racial equity, LGBTQ rights, immigration, and reproductive freedom? What must President Biden do to promote progressive policies that will advance social justice? All of these questions and more will be discussed on this episode of Under the Blacklight.
Brad Sears is Associate Dean for Public Interest Programs and David Sanders Distinguished Scholar of Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law. He was the founding director and Executive Director of the Williams Institute, as well as the previous Associate Dean of Programs and Centers, and Adjunct Professor. At UCLA School of Law, Sears teaches courses on sexual orientation law, disability law, and U.S. legal and judicial systems. He has published a number of research studies and articles, primarily on discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace and HIV discrimination in health care. Sears has given hundreds of academic and community presentations on HIV/AIDS and LGBT legal issues. He has testified before Congress and a number of state legislatures, authored amicus briefs in key court cases, helped to draft state and federal legislation, and been cited by a number of media including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, and CNN.
Alexis McGill Johnson is the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Alexis is a champion for social and racial justice, a respected political and cultural organizer, and a tireless advocate for reproductive freedom. She has been in Planned Parenthood’s leadership for more than a decade as PPFA board chair, Planned Parenthood Federal PAC chair, and a Planned Parenthood Action Fund board member.
A researcher by training, Alexis co-founded and co-directed the Perception Institute, a consortium of researchers, advocates, and strategists who translate cutting-edge mind science research on race, gender, ethnic, and other identities into solutions that reduce bias and discrimination, and drive equity and belonging. She is also a thought leader on brain science and narrative change and has written extensively on equity, race, and culture.
Rep. Mark Takano has worked to improve the lives of Riverside County residents, both as an elected official and as a teacher at Rialto High School for more than twenty years. Born and raised in Riverside, Mark's commitment to public service began at an early age. His family roots in Riverside go back to his grandparents who, along with his parents, were removed from their respective homes and sent to Japanese American Internment camps during World War II. After the war, these two families settled in Riverside County to rebuild their lives.
In 1990, Mark was elected to the Riverside Community College District's Board of Trustees. At RCC, Mark worked with Republicans and Democrats to improve higher education for young people and job training opportunities for adults seeking to learn a new skill or start a new career. He was elected Board President in 1991 and helped the Board and the District gain stability and direction amid serious fiscal challenges. In 2012, Mark became the first openly gay person of color to be elected to Congress.
Mark Takano represents the people of Riverside, Moreno Valley, Jurupa Valley and Perris in the United States House of Representatives. He serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and as a member of the Education and Labor Committee.
Rashad Robinson is the President of Color Of Change, a leading racial justice organization driven by more than 7 million members who are building power for Black communities. Color Of Change uses innovative strategies to bring about system change in the industries that affect Black people’s lives: Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Hollywood, Washington, corporate board rooms, local prosecutor offices, state capitol buildings and city halls around the country. Under Rashad’s leadership, Color Of Change designs and implements winning strategies for racial justice, among them: forcing corporations to stop supporting Trump initiatives and white nationalists; winning net neutrality as a civil rights issue; holding local prosecutors accountable to end mass incarceration, police violence and financial exploitation across the justice system; forcing over 100 corporations to abandon ALEC, the right-wing policy shop; changing representations of race and racism in Hollywood; moving Airbnb, Google and Facebook to implement anti-racist initiatives; and forcing Bill O’Reilly off the air.
Jennifer M. Chacón is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. She was previously Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Senior Associate Dean for Administration at UC Irvine School of Law.
Chacón’s research focuses in the fields of immigration law, constitutional law and criminal law and procedure. Her research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation. She is a co-author of the 2017 casebook Immigration Law and Social Justice (Aspen Press) and of numerous articles, essays and book chapters on citizenship, immigration, border control and human trafficking.