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Biden faces increasing pressure to diversify his Cabinet

The push comes as activists and elected officials insist that Biden is not doing enough to meet his promise of creating an administration that reflects the nation’s diversity. The latest effort comes from members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who in a letter obtained by CNN, requested that Biden appoint either California Attorney General Xavier Becerra or Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez to serve as the US Attorney General.

“We are confident that either would lead the Department with distinction, champion equal protection under the law, and advance the cause of justice for all Americans,” the letter read.

Biden, however, named White nominees to two of the highest-profile Cabinet positions — secretary of state and treasury secretary. Black and Latino leaders are concerned that people of color are primarily being nominated to second-tier positions in Biden’s administration and urging Biden to choose diverse candidates fill the remaining high-profile positions, saying it will give underrepresented groups a voice in the nation’s leadership. Their demands come as the nation reels from police killings of Black people, massive protests calling for racial equality this year and President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies.

Leaders from seven Black-led civil rights groups say they requested a meeting to discuss the need for more Black nominees to Biden’s Cabinet.

The groups included the National Action Network, NAACP, National Urban League, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The Washington Post first reported on their request for a meeting.

Rev. Al Sharpton, who leads the National Action Network, said Biden has not yet agreed to a date for the meeting. He would like to see Black leaders in positions such as US attorney general, secretary of education and secretary of labor.

“We are in an era of heightened alert in the areas of race and criminal justice,” Sharpton told CNN. “And anything that does not recognize that means that people who voted for him, feeling he would deal with this issue, will feel a sense of betrayal.”

The effort, which is focused on increasing representation at the highest level of government, is also about keeping certain potential Cabinet picks out of the Biden administration.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson told CNN Wednesday, there are at least two examples of names that are currently being floated for administration roles that would be “extremely problematic for the African-American community:” Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who is being considered for transportation secretary, and former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, whose name has been floated to fill that position again.
Emanuel’s handling of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald has drawn fierce criticism from civil rights groups. Vilsack in 2010 had to apologize to Shirley Sherrod, a Black woman, for forcing her to resign from her government job in Georgia based on incomplete and misleading reports of a speech she gave.

Congressional pressure

As pressure mounts from outside groups like the National Urban League and NAACP for Biden to meet with them and discuss the future of his cabinet, members of the Congressional Black Caucus are also calling for greater transparency from Biden’s team on their plans for future nominations.

New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, told CNN that while there have been some preliminary conversations with Biden’s team about his first 100 days and hiring, she needs to see more Black men and women selected to top tier positions.

Emphasizing she wasn’t speaking for the Black caucus and only stating her own opinion, Coleman said she has been “disappointed” so far with the number of Black women who have been selected for top posts.

Biden has selected Rouse to lead his Council of…

Read More: Biden faces increasing pressure to diversify his Cabinet -news.google.com

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