Joint Center’s Don Bell Writes on the Legacy of Robert Kennedy and Young People in Public Service

On June 11, 2018, Black Talent Initiative Director Don Bell published an op-ed in Salon, discussing the legacy of the late Robert Kennedy and the role that Millennials are playing in public service. In this piece, Don discusses the work of Staff Up Congress, a bipartisan initiative started with the NALEO Educational Fund to identify, counsel, and work with people of color seeking employment in policy positions on Capitol Hill. “Millennials are starting innovative companies and pushing for policies in the workplace to address everything from diversity and inclusion to socially responsible investing.

When it comes to politics,more youth plan to vote in 2018 than they did in 2016, and according to Millennial Action Project, over 200 millennials are running for Congress this election cycle. They are running in every region of the country, for open seats and in contested primaries to help make a difference in their communities. This doesn’t even account for the thousands getting involved at the state and local level.But it’s not just about running for office. One of the great challenges we face is the lack of diversity and inclusion of those involved in the policy-making process. Congressional staffs aren’t terribly diverse, which has real-world consequences for constituents everywhere. Congressional staffers, particularly senior staff, help investigate and provide oversight of administrative agencies. They negotiate legislative language that becomes law and manage the budget and appropriations process, deciding how federal funding for everything from public schools to small business investment are allocated. When people of diverse backgrounds and experiences are left out of these decision-making rooms, entire swaths of the country are ignored.”You can read the full piece here.