FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2022
Joint Center Launches New Campaign Calling on Congressional Leaders to Prioritize Racial Diversity in Top Staff Hires
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America’s Black think tank, launched a campaign encouraging newly elected and returning members of Congress to prioritize racial diversity when hiring their top staff. The campaign includes a new website tracking the diversity trends of the top staff of every member of the 118th Congress and offering clear directives for how to solve the lack of representation, and an explainer video on the need for diversity on the Hill. This campaign was exclusively covered by The Hill.
The Joint Center will also send letters signed by 69 national organizations and diversity stakeholders to new and returning members of Congress to advocate for increasing diversity among top and mid-level congressional staffers.
“One key step to advance racial equity in our country is to ensure that members of Congress are advised by top staff who represent the diversity of our nation,” said Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center. “These critical staff roles influence lawmaking, a multi-trillion dollar budget process, and the Senate confirmation process, and provide oversight of the work done by over 4.2 million federal employees. The perspectives and decisions of top congressional staff shape the lives of everyday Americans — especially those from communities of color.”
People of color remain largely underrepresented in mid-to-top-level staff positions for congressional members and offices. Although people of color make up 40 percent of the U.S. population, they only make up 18 percent of top staffers in the U.S. House of Representatives and only 11 percent of U.S. Senate top staff. The perspectives and leadership from racially diverse senior staff will be particularly essential to dismantling structural inequality in Congress.
“The lack of representation and diversity in congressional offices clearly shows that key voices and perspectives are not being heard in rooms where major decisions are made,” said Dr. LaShonda Brenson, senior researcher at the Joint Center. “Simply put, this is an issue afflicting the offices of Republicans and Democrats alike. It’s time for members of Congress to show and prove that the experiences of the communities they represent are being considered in their work and decisions for the country.”
For more information about the Joint Center’s initiative to increase congressional staff diversity, click here.
About the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America’s Black think tank, provides compelling and actionable policy solutions to eradicate persistent and evolving barriers to the full freedom of Black people in America. We are the trusted forum for leading experts and scholars to participate in major public policy debates and promote ideas that advance Black communities. We use evidence-based research, analysis, convenings, and strategic communications to support Black communities and a network of allies.