By AFRO Staff

President Joe Biden made his inaugural State of the Union Address on March 1. The president discussed the continued fight to return to normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenge of inflation and the conflict in Ukraine. Local leaders responded in support of the President, who outlined his goals before millions of viewers.

“For more than two years, COVID-19 has impacted every decision in our lives and the life of the nation. I know you’re tired, frustrated, and exhausted,” said Biden. “Because of the progress we’ve made, because of your resilience and the tools we have, tonight I can say we are moving forward safely, back to more normal routines.”

“We’ve reached a new moment in the fight against COVID-19, with severe cases down to a level not seen since last July.”

Biden told listeners that the union is strong because “the American people are strong.” He praised citizens for their perseverance over the last two years and said a return to normal is on the horizon.

“It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again,” he declared.

Biden said people will be able to order another round of free tests from the government and that his administration was launching a “test to treat” initiative to provide free antiviral pills at pharmacies to those who test positive for the virus.

The president also addressed the rising costs of everyday necessities, currently shredding the pockets of the average American.

“Inflation is robbing them of the gains they might otherwise feel. I get it,” said Biden. “That’s why my top priority is getting prices under control.”

Aside from the pandemic response and work to improve day-to-day life for Americans, Biden addressed the growing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The situation in the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv escalated last week. Shooting and fires broke out as bombs began to fly. 

During his address, the President detailed the “powerful economic sanctions” he will engage in response to Russia’s actions against the Ukrainian people. 

Biden spoke directly to wealthy, powerful Russians with assets around the world, stating that none of their possessions are safe.

“We are coming for your ill-begotten gains,” he said, pledging that the U.S. and European allies were after their yachts, luxury apartments and private jets.

“Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,” Biden said. “They keep moving. And, the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising.”

Though challenges abroad grow more concerning each day, Biden emphasized his focus on the American people and commitment to U.S. issues.

“We are the only nation on Earth that has always turned every crisis we have faced into an opportunity. The only nation that can be defined by a single word: possibilities.” 

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