More Work to be Done on Capitol Hill Diversity

Don Bell, the head of the Black Talent Initiative for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, has been a champion for more diversity on Capitol Hill since he led the Black Senate Staff Association. Though he has helped usher in great strides among staff in Congress, he says there’s still much more to be done. In June, Senate Democrats released data on the makeup of their staffs for the first time. According to the data, there were no Black staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Armed Services Committee, or Senate Agriculture Committee. And, in an op-ed for The Hill, Bell makes the important point that it’s not simply a numbers game. He says what positions the staffers hold are equally, if not more, important. This data was not provided in the breakdown. “Later this year, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies will release a report which will likely confirm that the diversity problem is just as bad in the House of Representatives,” Bell writes. “Diversity cannot be an empty word or idea that you throw around in a meeting yet do nothing to cultivate when it matters. You cannot merely hire an individual or conveniently identify a junior staffer of color in an office to speak about diversity and think that a problem has been solved.” Read his full op-ed here.

Tiffany D. Cross