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Creating an Equitable Economy for all Americans

The mission of the U.S. Department of Commerce is to create the conditions for inclusive economic growth and opportunity for all Americans. Last week, in conjunction with Black History Month, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Deputy Secretary Don Graves participated in several events that echo this mission and showcase the Department’s leading role in building an economy in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.

Marking the first anniversary of the signing of President Biden’s second Executive Order on equity, federal agencies released their 2023 Equity Action Plans at an White House Convening on Equity. These plans include over 100 community-informed strategies and actions to address systemic barriers in our Nation’s policies and programs. During a panel discussion on equity, Deputy Secretary Graves released the Commerce Department’s 2023 update to its Equity Action Plan. Through its five equity strategies, this plan will address barriers to equity so that all Americans—including those in underserved communities—have an opportunity to participate in the 21st-century economy.

“This update to our Equity Action Plan exemplifies the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to racial equity and equal opportunity for underserved communities,” said Secretary Raimondo. “If we are to out-build, out-innovate, and out-compete the rest of the world, we need to harness and empower Americans across the country by utilizing our greatest strength — diversity.”

“Our success and prosperity hinges on how well we harness the talents and strengths of all parts of the country, especially those Americans who have been historically underrepresented – women, people of color, and others who are too often overlooked,” said Deputy Secretary Graves. “Through our Equity Action Plan, our bureaus will work on all fronts to ensure that more American workers, families, and businesses can compete and succeed in the global economy.”  

In addition to the release of the Department’s updated Equity Action Plan, Secretary Raimondo addressed the National Congress of American Indians convention and the League of United Latin American Citizens Legislative Conference where she outlined historic Commerce grant programs that are providing the resources needed for economic growth for Tribal and Latino communities. These once-in-a-generation investments are focused on expanding high-speed internet network deployment, developing a diverse and skilled workforce, supporting small businesses, combating long-term economic distress, and making communities resilient to the effects of climate change.

“Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Commerce Department is making historic investments totaling more than $100 billion in everything from high-speed internet and domestic chip manufacturing to climate resilience,” said Secretary Raimondo. “These programs will help eliminate barriers to creating a diverse workforce, bring back America’s manufacturing and innovation, and promote equitable economic growth.”

Deputy Secretary Graves also gave opening remarks this week at the Voyage to Justice Equity and Climate Justice Forum hosted by the Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration where he addressed the impacts of climate change on historically under-resourced communities and communities of color. During his remarks, he reiterated Commerce’s commitment to providing equitable access to the most accurate and reliable climate data to fortify and build climate resilience for all communities.

To conclude the week, Deputy Secretary Graves participated in a Black History Month panel hosted by the White House where he outlined Commerce’s efforts to create growth and opportunity for Black Americans and their essential contributions to the American economy.  

“Equity is at the core of everything we do here at the Department,” said Graves. “This month, we celebrate Black history, culture, and achievement while recognizing the strides we must make to achieve equity and equality for all Americans.”

Learn more about the Administration’s equity work at whitehouse.gov/equity.