Earlier this week, President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union address, outlining his administration’s priorities and accomplishments in the face of a deeply divided Congress and country.
Ghida Dagher, president and CEO of New American Leaders and New American Leaders Action Fund, shared the following comment in response to his remarks:
“President Biden opened by stating that the American story is one of progress and resilience. That together, we can overcome any challenge that comes our way. As a community of New Americans, refugees, and people of color, his message resonates, especially in this moment.
“New American issues are American issues. And last night, President Biden outlined how he and his administration are showing up for our communities by finding real solutions to fight inflation, increase access to quality affordable healthcare, and rebuild our nation’s infrastructure to ensure every person has access to the resources they need to thrive. He is holding true to his promise to stand with our communities and create the changes we need.
“But we also know that the changes our communities need go beyond what a president can do alone. They start at the state and local level, with leaders like Anupam Chugh Sidhu, a member of the Plymouth-Canton Community School Board in Michigan, who used her experiences as a teacher, mom, and as the first South Asian on the school board to create a safe, inclusive plan to bring students back into the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic. It looks like Ola Albayati and Caren Yap, two immigrant leaders who spoke out to provide a youth response to the State of the Union through the Young People Address the Nation State of the Union response, encouraging other young people to make their voices heard. At the state level, it looks like Florida State Assemblymember Anna Eskamani fighting against bills that discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals; like Colorado State Representative Naquetta Ricks working to protect the rights and dignity of immigrants by fighting against the private prison system. Federally, it looks like Yadira Caraveo, the first Latina to represent Colorado in Congress, changing the face of leadership and bringing a New American perspective to crucial national fights. The future of our country looks like the countless other New American leaders driving our movement to create a stronger, more inclusive democracy forward.
“As New Americans, we believe in the promise and potential of our country. Despite the alarming rise in white nationalism and hate crimes, we know that while—as President Biden stated—our democracy may be bruised, it is unbroken. New Americans make it stronger.
“We are committed to supporting the next generation of leaders who can continue this essential work. Together, we can harness our collective backgrounds, skills, and experiences to advocate for our rights, strengthen our democracy, rebuild our economy, protect the most vulnerable among us, and as President Biden stated, ‘finish the job.’”