Hill Diversity

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Following the release of our 2015 report on Diversity Among Top Senate Staff, the Joint Center has continued to push for increased diversity on Capitol Hill and in Federal Agencies. See below for recent accomplishments and resources.

Diversity Among Top Congressional Staff: Building on our 31-page report on Diversity Among Top Senate Staff, in 2016 the Joint Center produced this 2-minute video on congressional staff diversity and made several presentations to talk about the issue to U.S. Senators, to congressional staff, and to the media.

After the 2016 election, we organized 52 Black, Latino, AAPI, and American Indian organizations and sent this letter asking six new U.S. Senators to recruit diverse staffs. We also organized outreach to over 70 civil rights organizations and media outlets in six states with newly elected U.S. Senators educating them about the lack of diversity among top staff, and created this fact sheet on the issue.

Following our efforts and those of our partner organizations, House Speaker Paul Ryan hired the first Black Chief of Staff in the Speaker's office, Senator Kamala Harris & Senator Thom Tillis hired the Senate’s first Black legislative directors, Senator Dianne Feinstein hired a Latino Chief of Staff, Senator Jerry Moran hired a Black Chief of Staff, Senator Martin Heinrich hired a Latino Legislative Director, and Senator Cortez Masto hired a Latino Communications Director. The number of Black top staff in Senate offices increased by 100 percent, and incoming Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer announced plans to continue and staff the Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative.

Recently, both the Senate Democratic Conference & the House Democratic Caucus have implemented versions of the Rooney Rule, and the House Democratic Caucus has announced plans to implement a diversity office.

Black Talent Initiative: Starting in June 2016, the Joint Center convened 36 African-American organizations (e.g., NAACP, National Urban League, INSIGHT America, National Action Network, and more) and over 250 policy and communications experts to work on transition policy and appointments issues. This effort transitioned into the Black Talent Initiative (housed at and staffed by the Joint Center), which identifies and counsels top African American talent for agency appointments and congressional staff positions.Candidates can submit key experiences and expertise on this online portal, and a searchable database allows Joint Center staff to match this information with job openings for agency appointments and congressional staff positions.