Letter to the Future President


Dear Mr. President-elect, 

This year has seen unprecedented challenges within our nation. From COVID-19 to George Floyd to a highly competitive election, just within a short period, we have experienced so much. As you take the mantle of the presidency, there will be plenty of expectations and many burdens to bear. Thankfully, you have indicated you are looking forward to improving this country with a focus on economic recovery and racial equity and a willingness to confront COVID-19 and climate change. We agree these are valuable topics when looking at the country, but we also want to lay out the expectations that we have as young people. Thus, we have organized a comprehensive letter about the issues which matter most to us. Hopefully, from this letter, you may glean a better understanding of what matters to today’s young Americans from Arcadia, California.


Health Services

While your Public Health Jobs Corps project is in good faith, it should be comprised of well-trained individuals and not rushed to inflate the numbers of members in the corps—which has been a repeating pattern. We hope you recognize that while the focus on numbers will catch the attention of the people, it is the final result of a healthier nation that protects its citizens, which matters most.

We also hope you do not turn a blind eye to mental health in our country. Mental health is not just one thing, one therapy session, one hug—a common misconception—but is made up of all the things going on in an individual’s life. That means accounting for financial hardships, unhappiness at work, inability to land a job, healthcare impediments, inability to afford college, and pay off student debt. There is so much inability, and that crushes the freedoms that we so preach. It makes citizens feel unimportant and uncared for by their country. How can we call this the best country in the world when most citizens are not happy? The solution to creating a happier and sustainable country is not just providing mental health services, but also fulfilling basic human needs.


Diplomatic Relations

Currently, democratic governments are being hijacked by nationalists intent on cracking down on civil rights and the prominence of authoritarian nations, like Russia and China, threatening the spread of democracy. Mr. President-elect, as adolescents who want to see a successful, bright future for America, we cannot rightfully claim that our seclusion and hesitancy to assert ourselves on the global stage is proper. We cannot say the fact that other nations are pitying us for our COVID-19 response or the fact that Mr. Trump was laughed at at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly are trademark reflections of how our nation’s reputation should be. Mr. President-elect, we urge you to reverse the diplomatically disastrous course which this nation has taken and focus on repairing our reputation while also standing up against global authoritarianism. We have faith that under your leadership, the U.S. will be able to reclaim our global prominence.


LGBTQ+ Rights

We also urge you to strengthen your stance on these plans and do not forget or overlook the importance of improving and, in some cases, saving LGBTQ+ lives. Mr. President-elect, the community’s struggles have been ignored or worsened throughout history, and too many proposed improvements have been blocked to appease anti-LGBTQ+ Americans and lawmakers. The past four years have only added to this trend, with hate crimes and violence—especially against transgender individuals—at an all-time high. As you said in a recent tweet and in your speech on Nov. 7, we must “lead not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.” To “advance global LGBTQ+ rights,” America must show the world that support for the community is unwavering and resolute. 


Disability Rights 

Your agenda mentions that you plan to appoint diverse judges throughout your presidency, including judges with disabilities. It’s crucial that you continue working with disabled activists and leaders and listen to their advice and plans. People with disabilities make up 26% of our population and we should not take any law regarding healthcare, accessibility, or equity lightly.   

While your plan discusses raising the minimum wage, it is extremely vague on what this means for workers with disabilities. Reports have revealed that the average hourly wage for a disabled individual is just $2.15, compared to the average hourly wage of $24.98 for a non-disabled individual. You’ve expressed before that raising the minimum wage is necessary, and we urge you to extend that stance to insure the same improvements for workers with disabilities. 

Many disabled Americans feel stressed by the number of requirements to apply for aid, and in some cases, many of the restrictions do not allow them to receive aid. Healthcare should not only be available to those who can afford it; it should be accessible to everyone. 


Reproductive Rights 

Abortion is one of the most debated topics in our country today, but such a complex issue cannot be solved overnight. We want to emphasize the fact that abortion must continue to be accessible and legal. Criminalizing it would not lower any numbers; it would only cause more damage. Only 37 states require sex education and 25 of those stress abstinence over other topics. We understand that education is state-based, but we ask you to encourage schools nationwide to offer comprehensible sex education and accessible preventatives to prevent unwanted pregnancies. 



Throughout your campaign, your outspoken support for immigration and plans for a speedy reversal of President Trump’s policies have made you a beacon of hope for Dreamers and refugees in America. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) opened a pathway to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants raised in the U.S., providing them with the necessary legal protection against deportation. Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric spoke for itself through the multiple attempted terminations of the policy that protected over 800,000 young immigrants, a majority of whom consider America their home. Although the Supreme Court ruled to keep DACA in June, the window of opportunity for the Trump administration to terminate it in the future was left wide open, leaving Dreamers in a state of uncertainty. Please keep DACA in place and protect the Dreamers who have feared inhumane separation since Trump’s presidency. 

The “Muslim ban” that has barred Muslims from entering the U.S. must be ended. Singling out Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iran, and Somalia has done nothing but fuel anti-Muslim sentiments, so please do as your campaign has promised by removing this unethical ban and ending the legacy of xenophobia that has accompanied these prohibitions for the past four years.


Climate Change

The earth is on the brink of becoming uninhabitable, and we will be left to suffer the consequences if we do not listen to facts. Leading scientists around the world have come to the grim reality: we have less than 11 years to act on climate change before we can repair irreversible damage. 

In 2018, the U.S. contributed 6,677 million metric tons of carbon emissions. During the Trump administration, the U.S. left the Paris Agreement, replaced the Clean Power Plan, and took other steps to obstruct the prevention of climate change acceleration. 

Mr. President-elect, you have made it a priority during your time in office to tackle climate change. Although your plan aims to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% clean, renewable energy sources by 2050, this is not enough.

Even the Green New Deal, which strives to do the same by 2030 with an estimated cost of $93 trillion, will not meet our deadline. What we need is radical action. While it may seem unrealistic — the benefits vastly outweigh the risks. The U.S. has already spent $350 billion on natural disasters caused by climate change alone.    

It is truly scary to think that someday the world we inhabit will be unrecognizable. We face a climate emergency, and you at the helm face a massive decision. All we ask is that you think of your children and grandchildren. 


This article is inspired by The New York Times; to the question of “What is the greatest challenge facing President-elect Joe Biden?”, this is our answer. Mr. President-elect, we have outlined a few of the expectations that we have for your presidency. We have expressed our hopes, observations, and even some of the feelings of disappointment due to America’s leadership within the last four years. The world which you will shape will influence us as we further grow into young adults and contributors to this country. It is no understatement to say that all of our eyes are on you now. So for the sake of the world, this country, and some students from Arcadia, California, please lead us well.


Sincerely, The Apache Pow Wow Editorial Board.