More than 1,000 Black women urge Biden to appoint more Black female Cabinet members

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A group of more than 1,000 Black women leaders from across the country on Monday penned an open letter to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris urging them to consider nominating more Black women for top Cabinet posts. 

The letter, first shared with CNN, was led by #WinWithBlackWomen, a network of more than 1,200 Black women leaders that formed in August to challenge sexist rhetoric being used by some to talk about the Black women who were being considered by Biden to be his vice president. 

In Monday’s letter, the group of women noted that “Black voters, and notably Black women, were key to your victory in November.” 

“As we know, 91% of Black women voted for your historic ticket and Black women were on the frontlines of this election,” the letter continued. “Black women continue to lead the charge in advancing voter turnout for the Georgia Senate runoff election which will impact this administration’s ability to advance its agenda and pivotal confirmations.”

“We have put our faith and trust in your vision to move America into a bold future; as we put the last four years of division, racism and hate behind us,” the group added. 

The letter went on to praise the selection of Black women Linda Greenfield and Cecilia Rouse as nominees for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and head of the Council of Economic Advisors, respectively. Harris made history as the first woman and first woman of color to be elected vice president.

However, the group argued that there is a “lack of public mention of African American women leaders as candidates under consideration to lead the 15 executive departments that comprise the President’s Cabinet.” 

“It is long past time that the effective, accomplished leadership of Black women currently serving in areas of significant policy that impacts our nation are recognized and given full consideration for the statutory positions in your administration’s cabinet,” the letter continued. 

“Just as Black women and Black Americans were key to your election in November, we are key to the success of your Administration and the implementation of your vision,” the group added, before outlining a series of Black women to be considered for several Cabinet posts. 

Among the suggested picks are Mayors Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) of Atlanta and Muriel Bowser (D) of Washington, D.C., to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as American physicist Shirley Jackson for the Department of Energy. 

For attorney general, the letter proposed four Black legal leaders, including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Sherrilyn Ifill and Anita Hill. 

Hill, who vowed in September to vote for Biden, testified at the confirmation hearing of then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, accusing Thomas of sexual harassment when he was her boss in previous roles. Biden at the time led the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 as part of an all-male panel who aggressively questioned Hill about her allegations. 

The letter comes amid increased pressure from critics arguing that Biden’s picks thus far have not been diverse enough, which Biden responded to last week by telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that he will maintain his “commitment that the administration, both in the White House and outside in the Cabinet, is going to look like the country,” adding that his slate of nominees is “the most diverse Cabinet anyone in American history has ever announced.” 

Last week, a coalition of progressive groups pressed Biden to pick a Black woman to serve as solicitor general, which would be another first for the country. 

Demand Justice, a top progressive judicial group, was joined by Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Demos, Indivisible, Just Democracy, People’s Parity Project and She Will Rise in pushing for the appointment as a sign of Biden’s commitment to a diverse administration.

Tags Anita Hill Biden Black voters Black women Cabinet Cecilia Rouse Clarence Thomas CNN Jake Tapper Joe Biden Keisha Lance Bottoms Linda Thomas-Greenfield Muriel Bowser White House

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