President of the United States

NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION MONTH, 2021

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION

For too long, domestic violence was considered a "family issue" and was left for families to address in private.  That is why, decades ago, I created and pushed for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to be passed.  Today, we recognize the important roles of the public and private sectors, non-profit organizations, communities, and individuals in helping to prevent and address domestic violence and create a culture that refuses to tolerate abuse.  Domestic violence affects millions of people in the United States, causes significant harm to the physical and mental health of survivors and their families, undermines their economic stability and overall well-being, and is a stain on the conscience of our country.  While significant progress has been made in reducing domestic violence and improving services and support for survivors, much work remains to be done to expand prevention efforts and provide greater access to safety and healing.  During National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we come together to reaffirm our commitment to ending domestic violence and supporting survivors. 
 
Domestic violence is an abuse of power that tears apart the fabric of relationships and families and undermines the well-being of communities.  One in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.  Homicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States for women under the age of 44, and nearly half are killed by a current or former male intimate partner.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence has become a pandemic within a pandemic, with many victims facing the added pressures of increased economic insecurity, increased time in isolation with their abusers, and limited contact with their support networks.  This has made it even more difficult for victims to access the lifesaving services and support they need. 
 
To strengthen our response to domestic violence and all forms of gender-based violence, my American Rescue Plan allocated an additional $450 million to increase support for domestic violence and sexual assault service providers and to further assist survivors in their short- and long-term transition away from their abusers.  It also includes a historic commitment to funding culturally-specific community-based organizations to address the needs of survivors in historically marginalized communities.  My Administration also allocated an additional $550 million for domestic violence shelters and supportive service providers to develop and employ COVID-19 detection and mitigation strategies and help survivors access health care during the pandemic.  In the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, I proposed an historic $1 billion for grant programs administered by the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women, and more than doubled investments through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act.  I was also proud to sign into law the Victims of Crime Act Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act, which increases resources available to help thousands of survivors of domestic violence. 
 
To accelerate this progress, the White House Gender Policy Council is working to develop our Nation's first ever National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence and the Council is collaborating with the Department of State and other Federal agencies to update and strengthen our Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally.  My Administration is also working to prevent and improve the response to intimate partner violence in our military and pushing to strengthen VAWA.  Authoring and championing VAWA remains one of my proudest legislative achievements as a Senator, and its reauthorization is long overdue.  Legislation to reauthorize and strengthen VAWA, which already passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, would reduce intimate partner homicides by strengthening common sense gun laws, expand protections for Native American survivors, increase access to safe housing, expand training for trauma-informed policing, and support programs centered on restorative practices.  We are also committed to reauthorizing the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act to strengthen efforts to address domestic violence as a public health issue and to increase support for life-saving services and prevention programs across the Nation.
 
During National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we honor the tremendous dedication of advocates and service providers, honor the courage and resilience of survivors, and recommit ourselves to standing with them for safety, dignity, and justice.  There is still much work to do, and it will take all of us to do it.  We must rededicate ourselves to creating a society where domestic violence is not tolerated, where survivors are supported, and where all people have an opportunity to thrive without fear of violence or abuse.
 
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2021 as National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.  I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support efforts to educate young people about healthy relationships centered on respect; support victims and survivors in your own families and networks; and to support the efforts of victim advocates, service providers, health care providers, and the legal system, as well as the leadership of survivors, in working to end domestic violence.
 
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.
 

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

NATIONAL COMMUNITY POLICING WEEK, 2021

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION

Community policing -- the practice of law enforcement professionals working side-by-side with members of their communities to keep neighborhoods safe -- is a critical and proven tool used by law enforcement agencies across our Nation to improve public safety and forge strong, valuable relationships.  During National Community Policing Week, we recommit to building bonds of trust between our law enforcement officers and the communities they serve and encourage community policing practices across our Nation.

America's law enforcement officers play an essential role in protecting our communities and enforcing our laws.  Every time an officer pins on their badge and walks out their front door, the loved ones they wave goodbye to are forced to wonder if they will return home safely.  This week and every week, we recognize the bravery and dedication of our peace officers who put themselves on the line each and every day to protect and serve their communities. 

We also recognize the role that all community members play in advancing public safety.  As our country continues to reckon with a long and painful history of systemic racism -- as well as the ongoing challenges of social and economic injustice, the COVID-19 pandemic, mental illness, homelessness, and substance abuse -- we must think broadly, conscientiously, and creatively about the future of effective policing and how to foster strong police-community partnerships.  Evidence and experience tell us that strong neighborhood relationships, the use of problem-solving to address crime systematically, and improvements to policy and training -- key tenets of community policing -- are all tools that help make our communities safer.  My Administration is using programs such as the Department of Justice's Project Safe Neighborhoods to bring together law enforcement and community stakeholders in an effort to develop local solutions to help prevent violent crime.

I have long been an advocate for community policing, just as my late son Beau was when he served as Attorney General of Delaware -- because he knew, as I know, that it works.  It is especially important now, as State and local governments across the country continue to climb back from the once-in-a-century economic crisis triggered by COVID-19 last year.  With their budgets decimated, countless communities were forced to cut essential services in 2020, including law enforcement and social services, just as a second public health epidemic of gun violence threatened the safety of their cities and towns.  To help keep our communities safe, my Administration has provided local leaders with guidance on how American Rescue Plan funds can be used to help reduce violent crime and ensure public safety.  I am also committed to investing in mental health services, drug treatment and prevention programs, services for people experiencing homelessness, and community violence intervention.  Community violence intervention programs are vital to preventing violence before it occurs, and they have a proven track record of reducing crime by up to 60 percent in cities across our Nation. 

My Administration is also working to ensure that police departments have the resources they need to serve their communities safely and effectively.  Communities experiencing a surge in gun violence can make use of $350 billion in State and local funding included in the American Rescue Plan to hire law enforcement officers and advance community policing strategies.  I have also proposed an additional $300 million in my budget for next year to support community policing across our country.  As I seek that additional funding, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the Department of Justice will continue to provide grants for community policing pilot projects and hiring local police officers -- including funding prioritization for officers who will live in the communities they serve.  These new resources will allow departments to implement community policing strategies and strengthen police-community partnerships.

At its core, community policing is about building trust and mutual respect between police and communities -- important goals that can only be reached when we have accountability and faith in our justice system.  That's why I strongly support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would deliver meaningful accountability, improved transparency, and the resources necessary to support community policing and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.  Although that bill is not yet law, my Administration will continue to consult with the law enforcement and civil rights communities to achieve reforms that advance safety, dignity, and equal justice for all Americans. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 3 through October 9, 2021, as National Community Policing Week.  I call upon law enforcement agencies, elected officials, and all Americans to observe this week by recognizing ways to improve public safety, build trust, and strengthen community relationships.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

NATIONAL YOUTH SUBSTANCE USE PREVENTION MONTH, 2021

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Far too many families across our Nation have been impacted by addiction and the overdose epidemic.  In 2020, more than 93,000 people died from an overdose -- 93,000 families forced to bury a piece of their souls.  The impact of this crisis echoes in communities across the Nation, in the empty chairs in classrooms and around kitchen tables.  During National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month, we reaffirm our commitment to helping America's youth overcome this epidemic and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the need to provide more resources to address substance use disorder.  Substance use disorder touches families in every community, and it is essential that we invest in a broad range of services, including prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services for mental health and substance use.

My Administration has been working to expand evidence-based prevention programs along with access to care and recovery support services.  We are committed to preventing substance use among our Nation's youth -- including alcohol, tobacco products, illicit drugs, and misused prescription medications -- by bringing communities together to find local solutions.  Through the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Drug-Free Communities Support Program helps equip community coalitions to reduce youth substance use at the local level.  We must continue to encourage parents, caregivers, educators, and other members of the community to play an active role in promoting evidence-based prevention efforts that encourage healthy lifestyles, promote alternatives to substance use, and educate young people about the harms associated with substance use.  We know that delaying substance use until after adolescence, when the brain has fully developed, decreases the likelihood of an individual developing a substance use disorder.  We also know that smart investments in effective school-based prevention programs save lives and save our economy money in the form of averted medical costs and improved productivity.

My Administration is also committed to advancing racial equity in our approach to drug policy -- implementing fairer, more effective, and more culturally resonant policies to prevent, address, and treat substance use disorder.  That is why we are supporting the development of tailored tools that strengthen prevention efforts in diverse communities.  These include racial equity trainings, resources on inclusion and diversity, and racial equity decision-making frameworks.  Our youth-focused efforts must also account for the fact that poverty, homelessness, trauma, and other adverse childhood experiences affect drug use and the overall health of our Nation's youth -- especially with respect to people of color, who are disproportionately impacted by these factors.  By advancing equity in every part of our society -- including our education, health care, criminal justice, and housing systems -- we can build a future where all Americans can lead healthy and fulfilling lives

This October, we honor all those who champion evidence-based youth substance use prevention and recommit ourselves to ensuring that all Americans have the skills, knowledge, and resources to live full and healthy lives.  Substance use disorder is a disease, and I will do everything within my power to expand access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services as well as reduce the supply of illicit drugs to keep more Americans safe. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2021 as National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month.  I call on communities, parents, caregivers, educators, employers, healthcare professionals, law enforcement officials, faith and community leaders, and all Americans to take action to promote evidence-based prevention and improve the health of our Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth. 

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

REMEMBERING THE 500,000 AMERICANS LOST TO COVID-19

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
 
A PROCLAMATION

 As of this week during the dark winter of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 500,000 Americans have now died from the virus. That is more Americans who have died in a single year of this pandemic than in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined.  On this solemn occasion, we reflect on their loss and on their loved ones left behind.  We, as a Nation, must remember them so we can begin to heal, to unite, and find purpose as one Nation to defeat this pandemic.

     In their memory, the First Lady and I will be joined by the Vice President and the Second Gentleman for a moment of silence at the White House this evening.  I ask all Americans to join us as we remember the more than 500,000 of our fellow Americans lost to COVID-19 and to observe a moment of silence at sunset.  I also hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset February 26, 2021.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

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