President-elect Joe Biden has maintained that he wants diversity in the White House and he’s starting with his transition team, which is compromised of people of color, with women actually holding a majority.
Biden is expected to announce his cabinet picks and senior staff for his new administration in the coming weeks, which is expected to be the first step in him keeping his promise to have a team that will “look like America.”
The diversity is significant because the teams will be responsible for evaluating the operations of federal agencies that have a broad impact on Americans’ lives. And it’s especially important because Biden will take office at a time when the United States is confronting a historic pandemic, joblessness and police brutality — crises that have disparately impacted Black Americans.
The teams face hurdles because President Donald Trump has yet to publicly acknowledge Biden’s victory and his administration has prevented a formal start to the transition.
The makeup is a sign that Biden is focused on rewarding Black voters for their support in the election. Many of the review team appointees are graduates of historically Black colleges and universities. Civil rights leaders and activists have pledged to push Biden’s administration to create more progressive policies on criminal justice, housing, the economy and more.
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors congratulated Biden and Harris on their victory and sought a meeting to discuss “commitments that must be made to Black people.”
“Without the resounding support of Black people, we would be saddled with a very different electoral outcome,” Cullors wrote in a letter to the administration. “In short, Black people won this election.…We want to be heard and our agenda to be prioritized. We issue these expectations not just because Black people are the most consistent and reliable voters for Democrats, but also because Black people are truly living in crisis in a nation that was built on our subjugation.”
Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond is also expected to join Biden’s White House staff in a senior role, departing the New Orleans-area House of Representatives seat he has held since 2011. Richmond, the 47-year-old former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, was a co-chair of Biden’s presidential campaign and a close ally during the 2020 race. He is now set to become perhaps the highest-ranking Black aide to the President-elect.