Press Releases

The Congressional Black Caucus Sends Letter to Secretary Mike Pompeo About Diversity & Inclusion Deficiencies at State Department

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Washington, July 24, 2020 | comments

On Monday, July 20th, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) sent a letter to Secretary Mike Pompeo to address the lack of diversity and inclusion among the State Department's foreign service and civil service personnel. During this movement for change, we must look within our institutions to ensure that they reflect a multicultural America. 

There is a prevalent and persistent institutional racism at the State Department. A February 2020 study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found differences in promotion outcomes for racial or ethnic minorities in the Civil and Foreign Service as compared to whites even when education and years of service were equal.  The report also highlighted that racial and ethnic minorities are grossly underrepresented in the mid to senior ranks.  Furthermore, Black foreign service officers have shared their frustrations with the lack of Blacks in senior leadership positions at the agency. Our Black foreign and civil service officers work hard to lead America's foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and to advance our nation's foreign policy and national security interests. They deserve the same opportunities as their White counterparts to advance in their careers to senior positions and management.

The diversity of the United States of America is what makes our nation great. Unfortunately, institutional racism continues to rear its ugly head and roll back the gains made under previous Administrations in building a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and equitable and just country. Inclusion is vital to a sustainable democracy. 

Over the last four years, our country's democracy has been under attack by the Trump Administration, which has shown us that inclusion is not a priority. We urge the Trump Administration to reverse its repressive policies toward Black people and commit to diversity in the cabinet, senior-level advisors, and at the State Department. 

As the House of Representatives conducts oversight efforts of the Department’s management and personnel practices, the Congressional Black Caucus has requested that the State Department  provide the following to the committee by COB August 17: 

1. A copy of the Department’s 2020-2024 Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan (DISP) with benchmarks for increasing the recruitment, advancement, retention, and promotion of African Americans in the foreign and civil service; 

2. A briefing on the Department’s draft 2020-2024 Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan; 

3. A list of concrete actions undertaken by the Department since the release of the GAO report; and, 

4. A description of possible remedies that Congress can undertake to assist the Department in implementing the DISP.

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