The heads of legacy civil rights groups say they are struggling to participate in President-elect Joe Biden’s transition, vying to be included as the incoming administration tries to make good on a promise to Black voters to be the most diverse in history.
Prominent civil rights advocates say they haven’t been consulted about key cabinet picks and are frustrated they haven’t met with Biden since the election.
“We aren’t asking for some kind of veto, we are asking for some kind of consultation,” said Marc Morial, head of the National Urban League. “We are still in a wait-and-see mode, but we think that the civil rights community should be more closely engaged.”
Biden selected Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate, and she will become the nation’s first Black vice president, in addition to being the first woman and Asian American to hold the job.
So far, Biden has made three choices for cabinet secretaries, including Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, who is Hispanic and his pick for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, who will be the first woman to hold the job. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a Black woman, will serve as Biden’s ambassador to the United Nations, a position that is often included in the Cabinet under Democratic presidents.
On Tuesday, Biden rolled out his economic team, which includes one Black man, one Black woman and one Indian-American woman. The new White House communication team is entirely female and more than half are non-white. Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Black man, will hold a senior advisor role in the White House.
But the leaders of some civil rights group remain concerned they’re not being consulted.
“We haven’t had a meeting with him, we have not had a conversation about the Georgia run-off election, we have not had direct conversations about key appointments that are going,” said Derrick Johnson, head of the NAACP. “Civil rights leaders in this country should be on par if not more than other constituency groups he has met with.”
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