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Putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill is great, but more can be done when it comes to representation

Wanting to expedite the effort to place Harriet Tubman, the revolutionary hero and pioneer of the Underground Railroad on the $20 bill is a sweet gesture. However, I'm not sure how this would solve issues affecting minority communities in the United States.

Putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill is great, but more can be done when it comes to representation
man in gray long sleeve shirt sitting on brown concrete brick during daytime
Photo by Kirt Morris on Unsplash

On Monday, President Joe Biden's Treasury Department announced that they are seeking to expedite efforts to place iconic revolutionary hero Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill . According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, this would replace Andrew Jackson (a notorious slave owner) after the Trump administration allowed this Obama-era initiative to be bypassed.


The treasury department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 notes," said Psaki in a statement. "It's important that our money reflect the history and diversity of our country."

The decision to put Tubman on the $20 bill was a plan set in motion in 2016 by Jacob Lew, the Treasury secretary at the time. Former President Donald Trump, who happened to be a self-proclaimed Andrew Jackson fan (who's also a fellow populist), was staunchly against altering historical images and figures in American history.

So naturally, Trump opposed the idea. Even his Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, stopped working on that part of the currency design, suggesting that adding new security features to the money was more urgent than replacing a photo. Mnuchin has also said that notes that have updated images cannot be put into circulation until 2028 and that it'd be up to a future Treasury secretary to make the decision to replace Jackson.

Now, I think wanting to expedite the effort to place Tubman, the revolutionary hero and pioneer of the Underground Railroad, who in a 10-year span escorted over 300 slaves to freedom, is a sweet gesture. However, I'm not sure how this would solve issues affecting minority communities in the United States.

Although I would be delighted to see Black and Brown faces on money, printing the face of a revolutionary on money seems to be a little counterproductive given that slaves were bought and sold with money.

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One of the many things the Trump administration shed light on about the United States is the idea that some people in privileged positions used that privilege to lie about others.

Unless the country can work towards really eradicating racial injustice via something like the CAREN Act, suffering in impoverished communities, or, quite frankly, reparations, can we expect to see actual change. Our faces on money are not enough to show how far the nation will go for representation.

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