George Floyd’s death “marked a turning point” regarding racial justice in the U.S., President Joe Biden said Tuesday.
Biden signed four executive orders that dealt with racial equality. He credited Floyd’s murder, by a police officer who knelt on the victim’s neck for nearly nine minutes, with having a monumental impact, per the Daily Mail.
“Those eight minutes and 46 seconds that took George Floyd’s life, opened the eyes of millions of Americans and millions of people all over the world,” Biden said. “It was the knee on the neck of justice and it wouldn’t be forgotten.
“It stirred the consciousness of tens of millions of Americans and in my view it marked a turning point in this country’s attitude toward racial justice.”
Biden also took aim at former President Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission, which, in the administration’s final days, issued a report criticizing how American students were taught about the country’s formation and the history of slavery and racial discrimination.
“I’m rescinding the previous administration’s harmful ban on diversity and sensitivity training and abolishing the offensive and counter-factual 1776 Commission,” Biden said. “Unity and healing must begin with understanding and truth, not ignorance and lies.”
The four executive orders signed by Biden included one that instructs the Department of Justice not to renew contracts with private prisons.
Another signed order directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to mitigate racial bias in housing, and another reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to tribal sovereignty.
The final signed memorandum condemned xenophobia against Asian Americans, which reportedly has risen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic due to Trump’s use of the term “China virus.”
‘”Look, in the weeks ahead, I’ll be reaffirming the federal government’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and accessibility,” Biden said, “building on the work we started in the Obama-Biden administration.”