By JACL National
President Biden signed the $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) on Nov. 15. This monumental act will provide many of the resources needed to improve marginalized communities such as expedient broadband access to ensure that Americans are provided with reliable high-speed internet.
Historically, infrastructure advances have come at the cost of destroying underrepresented communities for the sake of progress. Our national interstate system was built often intentionally to cut through and destroy underrepresented communities and neighborhoods.
Today, historically underrepresented communities are being replaced through gentrification, and longtime residents are being forced to leave homes they grew up in under the name of urban renewal. As we implement the infrastructure plan, it is incumbent upon the administration to ensure that we break from this previous trend and uplift these communities instead of tearing them down.
We also applaud the investment in broadband equity as an acknowledgment of shifting how infrastructure is perceived and the need for all Americans to be able to access reliable high-speed internet. This is an opportunity to make infrastructure investments that benefit all communities.
The JACL hopes that the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will soon be followed by the passage of the Build Back Better Plan and more legislation that uplifts our nation. The Build Back Better plan includes key funding for social infrastructure that many members of marginalized communities will benefit from such as expanded healthcare coverage and paid leave benefits.
We cannot complete a full recovery if we do not make investments in our social infrastructure to match our investment in physical infrastructure.