Statement for Opening of the Session (23-27 May 2022) Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (WEGPAD)

Kara Eyrich
ECOSOC Advisor
New York, New York
May 23, 2022


Thank you, Madame Chair, and congratulations on your election. I welcome the working group here and we are excited that this is your first opportunity to be in New York and have renewed engagement with peoples in the Western Hemisphere.

To reflect the importance of addressing issues of racial justice, on his first day in office President Biden mandated federal government agencies to recognize and work to redress inequities in policies and programs that serve as barriers to equal opportunity. For it is only by working together that we can make permanent and lasting progress on reducing the structural drivers of racism and racial discrimination and create real opportunities for Black American children and other members of marginalized groups to thrive in the United States. Looking at our own shortcomings, we intend to set the example for children of African descent to have equal opportunities and live up to their fullest potential globally.

The United States is committed to extending the principles, methods, and actions outlined in the President’s Executive Order beyond the confines of federal agencies. This includes finding ways at every level of government, and through collaboration with civil society partners, to recognize and redress inequities that impede Black American families from pursuing the most promising possibilities for Black American children.

Racism goes well beyond a corrosive personal poison. President Biden recently acknowledged this painful truth in heartfelt comments to grieving families and community members in Buffalo, New York, following the hate-filled racist attack that senselessly ended 10 innocent Black lives. Racism, he noted, “is a poison running through our body politic,” an ideology that has been “allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes…that has no place in America.” And it has no place anywhere in the world.

The United States has an opportunity to engage domestically across all levels of government to serve as champions for Black American children to safeguard their health and well-being, their equitable access to economic opportunity and mobility, and the administration of justice by redoubling our efforts to eliminate racial discrimination, and combat racism and intolerance in all its forms across all of our societies. That is why we led 158 countries last year to sign an international Joint Statement in the UN Human Rights Council and commit to do more to counter discrimination globally. Thank you.