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Navajo elder Emerson Gorman sits with his daughter Naiyahnikai, wife Beverly and grandchild Nizhoni near Steamboat, Arizona. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

A coalition of more than 40 racial justice groups is asking GSA Administrator Emily Murphy to begin the transfer of power to Joe Biden, saying the delays disproportionately hurt people of color and "playing politics with the ascertainment process is playing politics with our lives."

Driving the news: In a draft of a letter to Murphy dated Friday and reviewed by Axios, the group, Just Democracy, urges the General Services Administration official to formally ascertain that Biden likely won the Nov. 3 election so his transition team can gain access to virus mitigation and vaccine distribution plans.

What they're saying: "We urge you to weigh the implications of inaction and recognize the results," the letter says. Delaying now is tantamount to "an effort to support and condone the vanity project of this president and his enablers as he tries to salvage a reputation that is beyond repair at the expense of our lives."

  • The National Urban League said Black and Latino residents have a COVID infection rate per 10,000 that's three times that of their white counterparts.
  • The Navajo Nation recently has seen an uncontrolled spread of the virus in 34 communities across the sprawling 25,0000-square-mile reservation.

Why it matters: Without Murphy's action, Biden's team can't begin to hire or conduct background checks on candidates to oversee the COVID-19 fight in federal agencies.

The other side: The GSA did not respond to a request for comment on the letter. Murphy, a Trump appointee, has so far resisted signing documents to start the transition, and as this CNN report describes, has struggled with the weight of her responsibility and competing pressures.

Go deeper

Business leaders urge Republicans to drop Electoral College challenge

Sen. Ted Cruz. Photo: Susan Walsh/Pool/Getty Images

U.S. business leaders are urging Republicans to drop their plans to object to certifying the 2020 election results, saying such efforts "run counter to the essential tenets of our democracy."

Driving the news: Several Republican senators, led by Ted Cruz (R-Texas), as well as a group of House members say they will oppose certifying Joe Biden's win, despite the fact that nearly all lawsuits brought by President Trump, his allies and his legal team to challenge the election results have been dismissed.

Report: U.S. calls for UN-led Afghan peace talks

Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington, D.C., in February. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken proposed in a letter to President Ashraf Ghani steps including a UN-facilitated summit to revive stalled peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, Afghanistan's TOLOnews first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: Blinken expresses concern in the letter, also obtained by Western news outlets, of a potential "spring offensive by the Taliban" and that the "security situation will worsen and the Taliban could make rapid territorial gain" after an American military withdrawal, even with the continuation of U.S. financial aid.

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conservation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.