Bi-Do’s and Bi-Dont’s

The UPrep community reacts to Biden’s first 100 days in office

President Joe Biden reached his first 100 days in office on Apr. 29. After a tumultuous campaigning season, Americans are now witnessing the administration in action.   

For students like sophomore Julia Cappio, having Biden in office is a relief. 

“I think I breathe a little more now since Biden was elected,” Cappio said. “We had an administration before that was actively harming people every day. Biden is far from perfect, but he’s working to address issues and recognize the hurt and pain others are feeling in a way Trump was not.”

Junior Adriana Hernandez feels that the urgency to remove Trump from office has taken attention away from Biden’s policies. 

“So much of the media I consumed was pushing to ‘get rid of Trump’ and ‘settle for Biden,’ so that became my focus as well. I never sat and thought about what was going to happen with the Biden Administration,” Hernadez said. “I had so much optimism to get rid of Trump that I was just hopeful Biden would be better, but I never thought about what better would be.”

Now that Biden has been in office for several months, UPrep students and staff are looking more critically at the President’s policy platforms. 

Junior Yoshi Malady views COVID-19 as the most urgent issue on the administration’s agenda.

“COVID is definitely the biggest thing on my mind right now,” Malady said. “It’s directly impacting my day-to-day life because we can’t go to school normally, I can’t see my friends and it creates an obstacle for practicing in athletics.”

Biden’s approach to tackling the pandemic centers around vaccinations and providing economic assistance to families in need. The administration has already distributed over 260 million vaccines, passed a 1.9 trillion dollar stimulus check, and made everyone over the age of 12 eligible for immunizations. 

Meredith Honig, professor of public policy at the University of Washington, is optimistic about Biden’s COVID-19 response. 

“I think he has been incredibly effective in addressing the pandemic, but the bar set by President Trump also wasn’t very high,” Honig said. “Biden has listened to the CDC and Fauci. More vaccines are getting to people, and he’s working with local governors instead of fighting with them.” 

In addition to his policies, Honig believes Biden has addressed the pandemic with sensitivity and empathy, qualities which she says Trump did not possess. 

“It’s really nice that Biden is acknowledging the deaths and the toll that COVID has taken on people,” Honig said. “That was missing in the previous administration and I’m glad Biden is acknowledging the loss that has occurred.” 

Cappio expects that Biden’s efforts will help the country return to a state of normalcy. 

“I hope as the administration continues vaccine rollout, I’ll be able to experience time with my friends and that people are able to hug loved ones and rebuild their families following the deaths of so many throughout the country,” Cappio said. 

For other members of the UPrep community, like Hernandez who is an immigrant rights activist, immigration is the most pressing political issue.

“Back in January, I started phone banking with the ACLU and volunteering at OneAmerica, which is an immigrant and refugee organization in Washington,” Hernandez said. “We are calling on Washington state senators to pass immigration reforms on a state level.”

Biden promised to take urgent action to modernize America’s immigration system and welcome immigrants into communities during his first months in office. 

Hernandez has been critical of the administration for not following through on these promises, however. 

“Compared to the campaigning season and Biden’s 100 Day plan for immigration, I’m seeing a gap between the way he was talking about it and what’s actually happening now, ” Hernandez said. 

According to the Washington Post, the number of unaccompanied migrant children detained along the southern border tripled in the first several weeks of his time in office to more than 3,250. The administration has also reopened Trump’s child detention center in Carrizo Springs, Texas, and is planning to reopen the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children Florida.  

“So much of the media I consumed was pushing to ‘get rid of Trump’ and ‘settle for Biden..I never sat and thought about what was goin to happen with the Biden Administration,””

— Adriana Hernandez

With heightened visibility of racial violence and police brutality against BIPOC, many are uncertain of the stance Biden will take against these injustices given his criminal justice record. 

Biden was one of the architects of the 1994 Crime Bill, which imposed tougher prison sentences and more funding for prisons and programs encouraging drug related arrests. According to the New York Times, the bill has contributed to mass incarceration and created more aggressive policing that disproportionately targets Black and brown Americans.

Honig hopes Biden will take accountability for the bill and its repercussions.  

“The right move for the president to make is to apologize and admit that the bill was wrong,because that is what good leaders do,” Honig said. 

This being said, Biden has come out against police brutality and has shown support for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which includes federal reforms such as restricting police chokeholds and deploying body cameras. 

“I think they’re working hard and treating racial violence as a serious issue,” Cappio said. “I hope Biden continues to listen to the voices of POC and hear their concerns about their safety in the US.”

Junior Emerson Sonoda believes Biden must take a more decisive approach in addressing racial violence and police brutality.

“The administration needs to take more action on reforming the police,” Sonoda said. “He promised change and it’s not happening.” 

PhD student at the University of Washington Ellen Alhness says people should not only look to the President to enact change.  

“Top-down change is important, but we can’t forget that durable change happens when traction is made at the local levels,” Alhness said. “It shows higher-level policymakers that certain ideas have support.” 

Hernadez believes that in order to be an effective advocate for change, one must first confront their own biases. 

“So often when we have a perceived idea of a political party or specific topic, we try to cling onto it because it fits our personal narrative,” Hernandez said. “This can make us less open to potential positive change.”

Hernandez also believes change means holding those in power accountable.

“Everyone has room to be criticized and given feedback,” Hernandez said. “Just because they’re Democrats doesn’t mean they’re perfect or there’s not going to be flaws in their administration. Putting pressure on politicians and pointing out those flaws is how you make progress.”