It’s been over 30 days since President Joe Biden was sworn in to be the 46th President of the United States of America. As expected, President Bidens’ first moves were directed at overturning previous policies that were made by the Trump Administration. He has issued an executive order to terminate the national emergency declaration that was using funds to construct the border wall between United States and Mexico. President Biden has reversed the travel ban imposed on passport holders from primarily some Muslim and African countries. In addition, President Biden has taken a strong stance on LGBT rights tweeting that Transsexual rights are one of the most important civil rights of the 21st century. Indeed, all these measures are meant to foster a more unified country that is free from the vile and hate that was instigated by former President Donald Trump. However, not all of these achievements actualized by the Biden Administration have convinced Americans who denounced President Trump. One of those people is youth activist Brandon Robert Watts.
Brandon Robert Watts was born and raised in one of the most dangerous cities in America, San Bernardino, California. Raised by a single mother, Brandon got a first-hand experience of poverty in an African American inner-city community. These experiences motivated him to be an advocate and speak up for the voiceless in our communities. As a student at Howard University, Brandon not only became actively involved in his local community but also got a chance to work on Capitol Hill with some of the top leaders of our nation such as Senator Kamala Harris. He is proud to have liaised with the now first African American woman Vice-President of the United States. In addition, he worked with Rep. Lauren Underwood, the youngest African American woman ever elected to Congress. These experiences taught Brandon how to create public policies that advance the livelihood of people from low-income communities, especially those from minority racial groups.
Brandon was also active in the George Floyd Protest that occurred in the summer of 2020. He was moved by the response of the youth to make their voices heard during this trying time. This was one of the reasons that inspired Brandon to run for public office. He was the youngest African American candidate on the ballot in the 2020 November Elections. He is now a student at Howard University School of Law where he plans to focus on Civil Rights. He is also the founder of the San Bernardino Project, an entity that highlights the high incidence rates of gun violence that occurs in his hometown city of San Bernardino. Brandon hopes that this project will push for not only for Stronger Gun Control Laws, but for money to be invested into low-income communities.
Regarding President Bidens’ first 30 days in Office, Brandon Robert Watts had this response, “I’m a little worried. I know things are fresh, but at the same time I get the weary feeling that we might be moving back to a Pre-Trump era where injustices against people of color occur on a daily basis. However, this time around, the cases are not as highly profiled or solved as they were under the Trump Administration.” He points out that, “the current student debt is still high and there is no proof or effort from the current government of addressing this issue. What about the welfare of immigrants? I know it takes time, but Americans also need to see hope, hope that things might get better.”
“We still have a humongous student-debt problem in this country,” Brandon adds. “And it seems as if the President has already made it clear that he’s not interested in eliminating at least some of that debt.” This appears to be the opposite of Joe Biden's promise that he made to Americans during his campaign. “What we know now more than anything is that America has the money to pay and fund what is important to them. For example, if we look at our participation in the Middle East, the country has spent over six trillion dollars to fund our war there.” Brandon adds that, “just in 2019, the U.S gave Israel 3 billion dollars to fund their military endeavors. And we haven’t considered the trillions of dollars this country has spent in stimulus for COVID-19 relief.” Our country makes money for what it prioritizes, and for once it is time the government considers its people. Brandon wants the overall student debt to be eliminated, or at least to be reduced if possible. But he is not sure if President Biden is on the same page with millions of youths who think like him.
Brandon Robert Watts also touched on the Bidens administration’s current approach to immigration. “It is clear that there is still an active war against immigrants of color, a war that is being funded at the expense of taxpayer money.” This is in response to Bidens recent actions to overturn some of President Trump’s immigration laws. Joe Biden has announced legislations that will greatly enhance the injustices seen in our immigration system. “I think this is one those things that will take time.” Brandon said. As someone who grew up in a place where most of his peers were first generation immigrants, he understands their predicament and he hopes that this administration will uphold the spirit of diversity and inclusion over the next few years. The costly war on immigration can and must end, and President Joe Biden is at the center of it all.
Brandon is also concerned about how President Biden is going to keep his promise in advancing the rights and welfare of African American communities. “I am not sure where the Biden Administration stands on this matter. The President has already made it clear that he has no intention to defund federal law enforcement agencies.” Brandon further states, “I don’t really see how we can truly help advance the African American people without some form of reparations.” President Biden has claimed that he is open to a study on reparations and even introduced a bill to fund the study. The talk on African Americans receiving reparations has been ongoing for many years, and it is time for action. However, there are different opinions on how reparations should be done. For Brandon Robert Watts, who can trace his family lineage all the way back to slave plantations in the 1700’s, he would like to see reparations in the form of student debt eliminations and monetary investments in small black businesses. Many others see it in the form of home ownership, education, or a simple one-time direct payment. Regardless of the approach that will be resorted to, more focus should be directed towards addressing systemic and historic injustices that have been experienced by African Americans in our country.
It is clear that the Biden Administration is still in the process of reversing the damage and inequities done by former President Donald Trump. However, it is important that the President stays true to the people who fought hard to put him in office. “We must continue to stay in his face. We will not remain silent on ongoing injustices like we have in the past. If we as a people have learned anything, it’s that we have a voice that can be heard all over the world. I pray we never forget that.”