The Diversity Declaration

Government of the People, by the People, and for the People

Help Flip Virginia in 2019!

Our followers may remember that we were active in the Virginia state legislative elections in 2017 as part of a strong network of local grassroots groups. We succeeded in getting several amazing Diversity Declaration champions elected, many of them running in deep red districts! However, the Virginia legislature as a whole hung on to a very slim, one-vote margin in Republican hands.

We’re back and ready to elect even more great diversity champions in Virginia, as well as supporting the re-election of some of our amazing 2017 candidates. We’d like to introduce you to two NEW DD champions, and get you as excited as we are about supporting them!

Joshua Cole, in House District VA-28, was a 2017 Democratic candidate for District 28 of the Virginia House of Delegates. Josh is a longstanding ally to our fight for equity and inclusion. He serves on Stafford County Public Schools Superintendent’s Equity, Diversity and Opportunity Committee, and is the President of the Stafford County. Josh also recently received an endorsement from former Attorney General Eric Holder and his National Democratic Redistricting Committee and this endorsement is so appropriate. Josh lost his race in 2017 largely due to voting irregularities.

Our other new champion is Qasim Rashid in Senate District VA-28, overlapping Josh Cole’s House District and those of some of our other Prince William faves: Elizabeth Guzman, Jennifer Carroll Foy and Hala Ayala.  And just as they did in 2017, he’s seeking to flip a district that has been in Republican hands for a long time. Qasim is a longstanding human rights and civil rights activist, and has been an active representative of Virginia’s Muslim community, and champion for the rights of all religious minorities. He is also a longstanding activist on civil rights, immigration rights and women’s rights.

This is a great time to focus on Virginia. The Democratic share of seats in the Virginia House of Delegates is expected to increase due to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 17, confirming new boundaries for 25 GOP-gerrymandered districts. Virginia is one of only four states with legislative elections in 2019.  All 140 seats in the House and Senate are on the ballot.   If each of us do just a little bit, we can get these great champions elected and help change the face not only of politics in Virginia but, as we build a diverse bench, the future politics of our country.

Cole and Rashid (2).jpg

Time for an Anti-Racist Political Party

The attacks on politicians of color and women in office are getting worse, and we are fed up and ready to push for change. Recent weeks have seen chants of “Send her back,” attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar. Dog whistle comments about Rep. Elijah Cummings’ district in Baltimore - to distract from the Congressman’s legitimate outrage about the treatment of migrants in detention. And lest we forget how closely linked racism and misogyny are, the spectacle of Iowa Rep. Steve King defending violence against women. We need to start putting trigger warnings on Republicans.

And it’s not just President Trump. A few days ago the National Republican Congressional Committee jumped into the race to the racist bottom by attacking Rep. Lucy McBath, a woman who got into politics in the first place to push for gun control. This she-ro lost her own son to structural violence as he was shot by a white man for ‘playing his music too loud.’ And what did the NRCC choose to attack her for? For her strong reaction to the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, shootings that were unmistakably motivated by racism and misogyny. Apparently the shooters can count on the NRCC.

Two years ago white supremacists killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, VA. Last year they killed Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Last week they assaulted families shopping in El Paso, TX. And white supremacist terrorists have killed so many in between these highly publicized attacks.

We get that the hatred and violence are nothing new in this country. We will not end gun violence until we end racism, misogyny, and homophobia. This means our government at all levels, and our political parties, have to stop enabling structural racism, sexism, and other forms of systemic oppression.

Our goal is to change the political landscape, and our starting point is our elected officials. We are the majority. Politics and policy don’t have to pit one group against another. There are many examples of policies that work for ALL of us.

To get there we need to dismantle the systems that reinforce race, class, and gender oppression. We need to embrace politics that goes beyond the absence of overt discrimination and is affirmatively anti-racist and anti-oppression.

We reject the Republican party as it is today. It has become an open, unapologetic enabler of white supremacy.

We do not automatically embrace the Democratic party. While they may not be blowing dog whistles, they have yet to embrace the systemic reform that we need.

This is our call to action today. We ask our candidates for office and our current elected officials to recognize and correct the longstanding legacies of discrimination, in their own actions and in public policy.

There is reason to hope for change, at least among the Democrats. We see the DCCC staff walkout as a positive sign- these staffers were willing to take action, and we will have their backs. We support the statement by our partner, Inclusv, pointing out a way forward for the DCCC. We also support the recent initiative of the Maryland Democratic Party to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion. These are good first steps and they can be adopted by Party branches at state and local levels.

We are the majority and while we are not all the same, we are willing to work together. It’s time for the Democrats to work with us, too.

Washington Post: A Letter from 148 ex-Obama Administration Officials

Washington Post Opinions, Sunday, July 27, 2019

We are African Americans, we are patriots, and we refuse to sit idly by

By Clarence J. Fluker , C. Kinder , Jesse Moore and Khalilah M. Harris

This op-ed is co-signed by 149 African Americans who served in the Obama administration.

This post has been updated.

We’ve heard this before. Go back where you came from. Go back to Africa. And now, “send her back.” Black and brown people in America don’t hear these chants in a vacuum; for many of us, we’ve felt their full force being shouted in our faces, whispered behind our backs, scrawled across lockers, or hurled at us online. They are part of a pattern in our country designed to denigrate us as well as keep us separate and afraid.

As 149 African Americans who served in the last administration, we witnessed firsthand the relentless attacks on the legitimacy of President Barack Obama and his family from our front-row seats to America’s first black presidency. Witnessing racism surge in our country, both during and after Obama’s service and ours, has been a shattering reality, to say the least. But it has also provided jet-fuel for our activism, especially in moments such as these.

We stand with congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, as well as all those currently under attack by President Trump, along with his supporters and his enablers, who feel deputized to decide who belongs here — and who does not. There is truly nothing more un-American than calling on fellow citizens to leave our country — by citing their immigrant roots, or ancestry, or their unwillingness to sit in quiet obedience while democracy is being undermined.

We are proud descendants of immigrants, refugees and the enslaved Africans who built this country while enduring the horrors of its original sin. We stand on the soil they tilled, and march in the streets they helped to pave. We are red-blooded Americans, we are patriots, and we have plenty to say about the direction this country is headed. We decry voter suppression. We demand equitable access to health care, housing, quality schools and employment. We welcome new Americans with dignity and open arms. And we will never stop fighting for the overhaul of a criminal-justice system with racist foundations.

We come from Minnesota and Michigan. The Bronx and Baton Rouge. Florida and Philadelphia. Cleveland and the Carolinas. Atlanta and Nevada. Oak-town and the Chi. We understand our role in this democracy, and respect the promise of a nation built by, for and of immigrants. We are part of that tradition, and have the strength to both respect our ancestors from faraway lands and the country we all call home.

Our love of country lives in these demands, and our commitment to use our voices and our energy to build a more perfect union. We refuse to sit idly by as racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are wielded by the president and any elected official complicit in the poisoning of our democracy. We call on local, state and congressional officials, as well as presidential candidates to articulate their policies and strategies for moving us forward as a strong democracy, through a racial-equity lens that prioritizes people over profit. We will continue to support candidates for local, state and federal office who add more diverse representation to the dialogue and those who understand the importance of such diversity when policymaking here in our country and around the world. We ask all Americans to be a good neighbor by demonstrating anti-racist, environmentally friendly, and inclusive behavior toward everyone in your everyday interactions.

The statesman Frederick Douglass warned, “The life of a nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.” This nation has neither grappled with nor healed from the horrors of its origins. It is time to advance that healing process now through our justice, economic, health and political systems.

Expect to hear more from us. We plan to leave this country better than we found it. This is our home.

Saba Abebe, former special assistant, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, Energy Department

Tsehaynesh Abebe, former adviser, U.S. Agency for International Development

David Adeleye, former policy specialist, White House

Bunmi Akinnusotu, former special assistant, Office of Land and Emergency Management, Environmental Protection Agency

Trista Allen, former senior adviser to the regional administrator, General Services Administration

Maria Anderson, former operations assistant, White House

Karen Andre, former White House liaison, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Caya Lewis Atkins, former counselor for science and public health, Department of Health and Human Services

Roy L. Austin Jr., former deputy assistant to the president, White House Domestic Policy Council

Kevin Bailey, former special assistant, White House; senior policy adviser, Treasury Department

Jumoke Balogun, former adviser to the secretary, Labor Department

Diana Banks, former deputy assistant secretary, Defense Department

Desiree N. Barnes, former adviser to the press secretary, White House

Kevin F. Beckford, former special adviser, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Alaina Beverly, former associate director, Office of Urban Affairs, White House

Saba Bireda, former senior counsel, Office for Civil Rights, Education Department

Vincent H. Bish Jr., former special assistant to the assistant secretary of strategic program management, Department of Health and Human Services

Michael Blake, former director for African American, minority and women business enterprises and county and statewide elected officials, White House

Tenicka Boyd, former special assistant, Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Education Department

Tanya Bradsher, former assistant secretary for public affairs, Department of Homeland Security

Stacey Brayboy, former chief of staff, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Agriculture Department

Allyn Brooks-LaSure, former deputy associate administrator for external affairs, Environmental Protection Agency

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, former director of coverage policy, Office of Health Reform, Department of Health and Human Services

Quincy K. Brown, former senior policy adviser, Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House

Taylor Campbell, former director of correspondence systems innovation, White House

Crystal Carson, former chief of staff to the director of communications, White House

Genger Charles, former general deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Housing, Federal Housing Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Glorie Chiza, former associate director, Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, White House

Sarah Haile Coombs, special assistant, Department of Health and Human Services

Michael Cox, former special assistant to the assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs, Commerce Department

Adria Crutchfield, former director of external affairs, Federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Joiselle Cunningham, former special adviser, Office of the Secretary, Education Department

Charlotte Flemmings Curtis, former special adviser for White House initiatives, Corporation for National and Community Service

Kareem Dale, former special assistant to the president for disability policy, White House

Ashlee Davis, former White House liaison, Agriculture Department

Marco A. Davis, former deputy director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

Russella L. Davis-Rogers, former chief of staff, Office of Strategic Partnerships, Department of Education

Tequia Hicks Delgado, former senior adviser for congressional engagement and legislative relations, Office of Legislative Affairs, White House

Kalisha Dessources Figures, former policy adviser, White House Council on Women and Girls

Leek Deng, former special assistant, Bureau for Global Health, U.S. Agency for International Development

Tene Dolphin, former chief of staff, Economic Development Administration, Commerce Department

Monique Dorsainvil, former deputy chief of staff, Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, White House

Joshua DuBois, former executive director, Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships; former special assistant to the president, White House

Dru Ealons, former director, Office of Public Engagement, Environmental Protection Agency

Rosemary Enobakhare, former deputy associate administrator for public engagement and environmental education, Environmental Protection Agency

Karen Evans, former assistant director and policy adviser, Office of Cabinet Affairs, White House

Clarence J. Fluker, former deputy associate director for national parks and youth engagement, White House Council on Environmental Quality

Heather Foster, former public engagement adviser and director of African American affairs, White House

Kalina Francis, former special adviser, Office of Public Affairs, Treasury Department

Matthew “Van” Buren Freeman, former senior adviser, Minority Business Development Agency, Commerce Department

Cameron French, former deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Jocelyn Frye, former deputy assistant to the president and director of policy and special projects for the first lady, White House

Bernard Fulton, former deputy assistant secretary for congressional relations, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Stephanie Gaither, former confidential assistant to the deputy director, Office of Management and Budget, White House

Demetria A. Gallagher, former senior adviser for policy and inclusive innovation, Commerce Department

Lateisha Garrett, former White House liaison, National Endowment for the Humanities

W. Cyrus Garrett, former special adviser to the director of counternarcotics enforcement, Department of Homeland Security

Bishop M. Garrison, former science and technology directorate adviser, Department of Homeland Security

Lisa Gelobter, former chief digital service officer, Education Department

A’shanti F. Gholar, former special assistant to the secretary, Labor Department

Jay R. Gilliam, former special assistant, U.S. Agency for International Development

Artealia Gilliard, former deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy, Transportation Department

Brenda Girton-Mitchell, former director, Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Education Department

Jason Green, former associate counsel and special assistant to the president, White House

Corey Arnez Griffin, former associate director, Peace Corps

Kyla F. Griffith, former special adviser to the secretary, Commerce Department

Simone L. Hardeman-Jones, former deputy assistant secretary, Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs, Education Department

Thamar Harrigan, former senior intergovernmental relations adviser, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Dalen Harris, former director, Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison, Office of National Drug Control Policy, White House

Khalilah M. Harris, former deputy director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans; former senior adviser, Office of Personnel Management

Adam Hodge, former deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, Treasury Department

Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser, White House

Will Yemi Jawando, former associate director, Office of Public Engagement, White House

Karine Jean-Pierre, former northeast political director, Office of Political Affairs, White House

A. Jenkins, former director, Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Commerce Department

Adora Jenkins, former press secretary, Justice Department; former deputy associate administrator for external affairs, Environmental Protection Agency

W. Nate Jenkins, former chief of staff and senior adviser to the budget director, Office of Management and Budget, White House

David J. Johns, former executive director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans

Brent Johnson, former special adviser to the secretary, Commerce Department

Broderick Johnson, former White House assistant to the president and Cabinet secretary for My Brother’s Keeper Task Force

Carmen Daniels Jones, former director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, Agriculture Department

Gregory K. Joseph II, former special assistant, Office of the Executive Secretariat, Energy Department

Jamia Jowers, former special assistant, National Security Council

Charmion N. Kinder, former associate, Press Office of the First Lady, White House; former assistant press secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Elise Nelson Leary, former international affairs adviser, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Kimberlyn Leary, former adviser, White House Council on Women and Girls

Daniella Gibbs Léger, former special assistant to the president and director of message events, White House

Georgette Lewis, former policy adviser, Department of Health and Human Services

Kevin Lewis, former director of African American media, White House; former principal deputy director of public affairs, Justice Department

Catherine E. Lhamon, former assistant secretary for civil rights, Education Department

Tiffani Long, former special adviser, Economic Development Administration

Latifa Lyles, former director, Women’s Bureau, Labor Department

Brenda Mallory, former general counsel, White House Council on Environmental Quality

Dominique Mann, former media affairs manager, White House

Shelly Marc, former policy adviser, Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, White House

Tyra A. Mariani, former chief of staff to the deputy secretary, Education Department

Lawrence Mason III, former domestic policy analyst, Office of Presidential Correspondence, White House

Dexter L. McCoy, former special assistant, Office of the Secretary, Education Department

Matthew McGuire, former U.S. executive director, The World Bank Group

Tyrik McKeiver, former senior adviser, State Department

Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, former assistant to the administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

Solianna Meaza, former special assistant to associate administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

Mahlet Mesfin, former assistant director for international science and technology, Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House

Ricardo Michel, former director, Center for Transformational Partnerships, U.S. Agency for International Development Global Development Lab

Paul Monteiro, former associate director, Office of Public Engagement, White House

Jesse Moore, former associate director, Office of Public Engagement, White House

Shannon Myricks, former specialist, Office of Management and Administration Information Services, White House

Melanie Newman, former director of public affairs, Justice Department

Fatima Noor, former policy assistant, Domestic Policy Council

Bianca Oden, former deputy chief of staff, Agriculture Department

Funmi Olorunnipa, former ethics counsel, White House Counsel’s Office

Elizabeth Ogunwo, former White House liaison, Peace Corps

Stephanie Sprow Owens, former deputy director, Reach Higher, Education Department

Denise L. Pease, former regional administrator of the northeast and Caribbean region, General Services Administration

Danielle Perry, former special adviser to the assistant secretary, Agriculture Department

Allison C. Pulliam, former special assistant, Office of Presidential Personnel, White House

Colby Redmond, former advance specialist, Office of the Secretary, Commerce Department

Derrick Robinson, former researcher, Office of Communications, White House

Lynn M. Ross, former deputy assistant secretary for policy development, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Sarah Rutherford, former press and media operations assistant, White House

Alexander Sewell, former special assistant, Export-Import Bank

Michael Smith, former special assistant to the president and senior director of Cabinet affairs for My Brother’s Keeper, White House

Russell F. Smith, former deputy assistant secretary for international fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce Department

Jackeline Stewart, former press secretary, General Services Administration

Angela Tennison, former leadership development director, Education Department

Kenny Thompson Jr., former special assistant to the president and director of message events to the vice president, White House

Ivory A. Toldson, former executive director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Fred Tombar, former senior adviser to the secretary for disaster recovery, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Christopher R. Upperman, former assistant administrator for public engagement, Small Business Administration

Malik Walker, former senior adviser for congressional and legislative affairs, Office of Personnel Management

Jason R.L. Wallace, former director of scheduling and advance, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Myesha Ward, former assistant U.S. trade representative for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement

Clarence Wardell III, former presidential innovation fellow

Benjamin E. Webb, former executive director of policy and planning, Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security

C’Reda J. Weeden, former executive secretary, Department of Health and Human Services

Tonia Wellons, former associate director, Office of Strategic Partnerships, Peace Corps

Antonio White, former senior adviser, Treasury Department

Monae White, former special projects manager, Education Department

Aketa Marie Williams, former director of strategic communications, Office of the Undersecretary, Education Department

Jonta Williams, former adviser to the assistant administrator for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development

Jessica Wilson, former special assistant, Office of Policy, Department of Homeland Security

Taj Wilson, former deputy associate counsel, White House

Candace Wint, former director of advance, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Brent C. Woolfork, former managing director, Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Tarrah Cooper Wright, former special assistant to the secretary, Department of Homeland Security

Ursula Wright, former associate assistant deputy secretary, Education Department

Carl Young, former adviser and assistant, Office of Management and Budget, White House

Stephanie Young, former senior adviser, Office of Public Engagement, White House

David N. Zikusoka, former senior adviser for weapons of mass destruction and nonproliferation, Office of the Vice President, White House

*News Alert* U.S. House Passes Staff Diversity Provisions

On January 3, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Rules creating a new Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and mandating appointment of a Chief Diversity Officer and creation of a diversity plan. These measures were the outcome of consultations with the Joint Center for Political Studies, a partner with Diversity Declaration. The new rules reflect the historic diversity, and Democratic majority, of the House coming out of the November elections. 

Read the full statement

Read report from the Joint Center for Political Studies, “Racial Diversity Among Top U. S. House Staff”

Andy Kim wins NJ's 3rd Congressional District - NJ's first Asian-American Congressman

Andy Kim won! His long-shot bid unseated a Republican incumbent and staunch Trump supporter, part of the wave of victories by Democrats that brought unprecedented diversity to national and state offices. Dozens of Diversity Declaration volunteers helped get out the vote for Andy, knocking on hundreds of doors, mailing over 550 postcards and making phone calls to voters in New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district.  

Andy Kim is New Jersey’s first Asian-American Congressman. The election saw a slew of firsts across the country: first Native American, Muslim, and Somali-American women elected to Congress; first openly gay governor; and first openly bisexual senator.  States and territories scored their own firsts: first woman governor (Guam), Latina women representatives (TX), female senator (TN), LGBTQI person elected to Congress (KS), and female Representatives (IA). 

As the Washington Post wrote, in the House of Representatives "The incoming lawmakers...are overwhelmingly white on the Republican side, with only one woman, while women and people of color are a majority of the newcomers on the Democratic side." 

Diversity Declaration is excited to begin working with Andy Kim to promote diversity in elected government.

Washington Post: Diversity on stark display as House freshmen gather in Washington

Business Insider: Diversity wins — All the people who made history in the 2018 midterm elections

The Last Weekend: What Will You Do?

Diversity Declaration volunteers are making a final push to promote diversity and inclusion in the midterm elections! Can you help us? Every single action up till November 6, no matter how small, matters. Many drops make an ocean- or a Blue Wave!

We started off as a non-partisan effort to elect more representatives that truly walk the walk when it comes to inclusion in their public policy AND in practice. But we recognize, as our allies at Indivisible recently put it, white supremacy IS on the ballot this year.

We’ve been working to flip just ONE Congressional seat- New Jersey’s third district. We joined as co-hosts for a fundraiser in early October. On October 20 and 21 — to get out the vote to send Andy Kim to Congress — 18 of us drove to New Jersey and knocked on hundreds of doors; groups met in homes and wrote over 550 personalized postcards to NJ-3 voters; and volunteers have spent hours phone banking through a link provided by the campaign.

It’s not too late to do just ONE thing to help. Here’s what our friends at Indivisible suggest to bring our values back into our national politics, and resist a Republican agenda that embraces racism and xenophobia to guide its policies, from the Muslim Ban and the elimination of the DACA program, to forcibly separating children from their parents at the border. We are posting their call to action here:

“This election isn’t about a single issue or candidate. This election is about the soul of our country. It’s about whether Trumpism is a blip or an era. There is no limit to their cruelty -- which is why we must do everything we can to limit their power.

Here’s what you can do in the final days of this election to fight back:

  • Volunteer and talk to voters: Find an event near you or sign up for a phonebank shift or two before Election Day. Knocking on doors and talking to voters and sharing why voting in this election matters is one of the most impactful things we can do right now.

  • Forward this to a few friends: We need everyone to get involved in the next few days if we want to stop this administration’s hate-filled policies, and bigoted rhetoric.

“White supremacy is on the ballot in this election and every election. And this time Trump is saying it loud and clear for all to hear. Love alone won’t trump hate. But side-by-side, arm-in-arm, neighbor-to-neighbor is how we defeat this administration’s bigotry and fear mongering.

“In solidarity, today and every day,
The Indivisible Team”

How can we recruit a new generation of winning candidates?

"How can we recruit a new generation of winning candidates? Three young, recently-elected Democrats talk about what it’s like to run for office." This is the lead-in for the for the latest episode of the podcast The Wilderness, titled "The Bench" -- featuring TWO of our diversity champions from Virginia, Danica Roem and Jennifer Carroll Foy!  Have a listen, and remember: this is why our group got active -- to build a bench of diverse candidates around the country. Just as a few actions from each of us helped get these candidates elected in Virginia last year, with our individual actions leading up to November 6 we will keep building up The Bench!

Listen to the podcast

Will You Stand with Us for Diversity in Congress?

You like our photos, read our tweets and click through our newsletters.  We know you care about diversity and right now we need your help to get Andy Kim, New Jersey’s 3rd  district challenger for Congress, over the line this November.  

He can win this seat with our help.  Recent polling shows Andy within 1 point of the Trump-allied incumbent, Tom MacArthur.   (MacArthur was one of the co-sponsors of the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628) 2017that gutted the Affordable Care Act.)  Andy is a national security expert who worked in the Obama Administration.  Andy supports affordable healthcare, veterans, job creation, and campaign finance reform among other issues.  Please watch Andy in his own words explain why he is running in this video:

Diversity Matters has agreed to join the host committee for Andy’s last big event in Washington DC on October 2nd.  This reception is an opportunity for us to come out and show that Diversity does Matter.  Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry supports Andy and will join us on October 2ndas the special guest.  

We need you now.  We need you to show up for us.  For Andy.  For Diversity.  

Click here for more information on the event and  to register today.   

Primary Colors

This summer has seen a GREAT set of diversity and inclusion candidates win their primary races, and get all of us inspired for this fall!  Victories by Sharice Davids, Keith Ellison, Christine Hallquist, Jahana Hayes, Lucy McBath, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib show that voters are looking for people like them- like US- to lead. Here’s a roundup of some promising new faces:

CONNECTICUT: JAHANA HAYES the Democratic nomination to represent the solidly Democratic 5thDistrict, with 62% of the vote. If she wins in November, she would be the first African-American Democrat elected to Congress from Connecticut. The 2016 National Teacher of the Year, she was endorsed by the Working Families Party, the Congressional Black Caucus, the state AFL-CIO and Sen. Kamala Harris.  During the campaign, she talked about growing up in poverty, and supported single-payer healthcare.

GEORGIA: LUCY MCBATH: “In Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, which saw the first stirrings of the 2017 resistance when newcomer Jon Ossoff almost won a seat that hadn’t gone to Democrats since the 1970s, Moms Demand Action champion and racial-justice crusader Lucy McBath won her runoff against South African immigrant businessman Kevin Abel.” Check out this detailed analysis of Georgia’s critical races in The Nation.

KANSAS: SHARICE DAVIDS won the Democratic nomination from the 3rdHouse district. If elected in November, she would be the first gay Native American elected to Congress and the first openly LGBT person to represent Kansas in Federal office.

MICHIGAN: RASHIDA TLAIB, who is Muslim, beat a crowd of opponents to win the Democratic nomination for the 13thCongressional District. There is no Republican running for this strongly Democratic seat.


ILHAN OMAR won the Democratic nomination to represent the 5thDistrict, which is heavily Democratic. Currently a state House representative elected in 2016 who is Somali-American and Muslim, her website casts her as the potential first refugee in Congress.

VERMONT: CHRISTINE HALLQUIST, a former energy executive, became the first transgender person nominated by a major party for governor in the country.

Against this backdrop, record numbers of women have won primaries this year, mostly Democrats. There are 71 congresswomen running for re-election, and in all nearly 50 African-American women have run for Congress this year.


Why We're Supporting Andy Kim for Congress

Diversity Declaration is promoting Andy Kim's exciting bid to be the next U.S. Representative from a swing District: New Jersey's Third.

Andy emerged quickly after the election of November 2016 as a progressive leader helping mobilize others past fear and despair on to constructive action and engagement in the political process.  Drawing on his experience and networks, in November 2016 he launched Rise Stronger, which has been a partner to our efforts at Diversity Declaration, and organized a major networking and mobilization event in conjunction with the Women's March on Washington.

NJ-3 is prime territory for our action:  in south-central New Jersey just outside Philadelphia, with people of color making up 19% of its population.  Andy's message, and ours, can reach the voters he needs to take the seat, if WE get involved and help him!

Republicans are focused on keeping Andy's opponent, incumbent Representative Tom MacArthur, in office. MacArthur led the Trump Adminstration’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017 and end requirements to cover pre-existing conditions. 

Andy is an Asian American candidate who grew up in NJ-3.  He is a Rhodes scholar. As a career public servant, Andy served two years in the Obama White House as Director for Iraq at the National Security Council, where he was a point person coordinating the global effort against the Islamic State. He had previously served in Kabul, Afghanistan as a U.S. diplomat and strategic adviser to Generals David Petraeus and John Allen. Andy also served in the Pentagon, the State Department, USAID and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

CNN, Cook Political and Inside Elections have downgraded MacArthur's chances of elections in the past two months.  Democrats now hold a 17,000 registered voters advantage over Republicans in the district, up 4,000 since 2016.  Public polls show Andy in the lead when poll respondents are informed of MacArthur's record on healthcare and taxes.  But the race is going to be a CLOSE one.  Every single door knocked, every phone call, every bit of voter contact will make a difference.  Think about what you can do to help us get this diversity champion into office in November!

 Want more info about this race?  Check out this excellent analysis from our friends at Swing Left!


Building Future Leaders in Virginia

Great news!  On July 16, we raised $1,450 for the Ella Baker Youth Leadership Program, established by Virginia Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, through the happy hour we co-hosted with her team at Heavy Seas Ale House in Arlington.  Thanks to all who attended and donated so generously, in person and online! Donations continue to be accepted towards our $2,500 goal, at or by check, made out to Jennifer Carroll Foy for Delegate, P.O. Box 5113, Woodbridge, VA 22194, annotated for the Ella Baker YLP.

We're excited to help these diversity high school students get first-hand experiences with political leaders and the Legislature, and start imagining their future roles in the political life of this country.

Support Youth Leadership & Engagement on July 16 with VA Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy's Ella Baker Youth Leadership Program

Diversity Declaration joins Virginia Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy in inviting young professionals to a happy hour on July 16, aiming to raise at least $2,500 to send six to eight diversity high school students to learn first-hand about state government in the Virginia State Capitol next year, free of charge, in Delegate Carroll Foy’s Ella Baker Youth Leadership Program. Through the Program, named for the civil rights leader, the students sit in subcommittee meetings, meet advocacy groups, shadow the Delegate, and meet with Governor Northam and Lt. Governor Fairfax.

Check out our events page for the details about joining!

Online contributions may be made at

Results from the New Jersey Primaries: Prospects and Challenges for Progressive Candidates

Diversity Declaration tracked two New Jersey House primaries on June 5 that highlight prospects and challenges for progressive candidates in the 2018 midterms:

NJ-2: As the New York Times wrote: “Jeff Van Drew, a state senator, won the Democratic primary. Mr. Van Drew, a conservative Democrat with a pro-gun record who voted against same-sex marriage in 2012, nonetheless won the backing of powerful South Jersey Democrats early on and was able to fend off a challenge from some progressive candidates.”

NJ-3: Andy Kim, an Obama Administration national security official endorsed by former VP Joe Biden, and the founder of, secured the Democratic nomination, running unopposed. He now must wage an uphill battle going into November’s general election, against wealthy Republican incumbent Tom MacArthur. NJ-3 has 12,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, and Cook’s Political Report has shifted its rating of the district to the left this year, though NJ-3 voted for Trump in 2016 after voting twice for Obama. MacArthur has a vast personal fortune to fund his own campaign.

May Democratic Primaries

The May Democratic primaries saw victories by a group of female diversity candidates, adding to the momentum that the Diversity Declaration is working to encourage.  All these candidates face significant challenges and need exceptional mobilization of support to win.

Georgia: Stacey Abrams, 44, is the first African-American to win a primary for governor.  If elected, she would be the state’s first woman governor and the first African-American woman governor in the U.S.  Georgia hasn’t had a Democratic governor in 20 years. Abrams’ opponent will be one of two Trump-style Republicans; Trump won Georgia by a five percent margin in 2016.


Idaho: Paulette Jordan, 38, is waging an uphill battle be the nation’s first Native American governor, in a staunchly conservative, Republican state.


Texas: Lupe Valdez, 70, won the primary as the first Latina and openly gay person nominated by a major party in the race for governor of Texas.  The Republican incumbent governor is favored to win in November, and Republicans have long controlled the state, but Valdez has a history of overcoming long odds.


Gina Ortiz Jones, 37, won the primary for a House seat. If elected, she would be the first lesbian, Iraq War veteran and Filipina-American to represent Texas in Congress. Her district leans Republican and her two-term incumbent opponent has a much larger war chest so far.


Do you like hearing about candidates like these inspiring women?  Do you want to help us others like them elected?  It's easy and fun!  We are tracking several Congressional races closely, and will be focusing on some key races in 'swing' districts within the next few weeks.  We'd love to hear from you on any races YOU are tracking, and will cross-post information so please follow our Facebook page and e-mail or message us with your thoughts!

Motivation Monday: Challenges for Diversity Candidates in Maryland and New Jersey

Diversity candidates for upcoming Democratic primaries, in increasingly diverse districts with significant immigrant populations, face tough challenges - even from within the Democratic Party.

Aruna Miller's strong showing in Maryland's 6th district has made her the preferred target of GOP attack ads.  In New Jersey's 2nd district, a conservative, white, male Democrat has the full backing of the Democratic Party establishment, who sees in him its best chance of recapturing a seat held by a Republican for two decades.  Progressive activists in New Jersey see the Party turning its back on viable candidates more in line with the values it claims to represent, in service of trying to take back the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Washington Post and Politico offer some insight into how things are shaking out in both Maryland and New Jersey.

Democratic Primary is Two Months Away but the Republicans have Already Picked Out Their Favorite Candidate to Attack | Washington Post

How Progressives Got Steamrolled in New Jersey | Politico 


Motivation Monday: Open Letter on Equity in National Security & Upcoming Meeting

We have joined forces with the Open Society Policy Center by signing on to their Open Letter on "Fundamental Equity and Inclusion for U.S. National Security and Global Engagement." Click here to read the letter.

Reminder: our Quarterly Meeting is this Sunday, April 22 from 3pm-5pm at the United Methodist Building, 100 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington DC 20002. We anticipate a great discussion setting out our work for the coming months.  Please RSVP with an email ( if you have not already.

Thinking Ahead to November

With Conor Lamb's recent Congressional victory in Pennsylvania, Diversity Declaration sees the November 2018 mid-term elections as ripe for unexpected victories by untraditional candidates.  Watch this space in the coming months for reports about interesting candidates - and send us your ideas!  Our research volunteers are hard at work and would love insights on interesting candidates.

Our research shows that the southeast corner of Pennsylvania, around Philadelphia, might be our richest target for Diversity Declaration work and collaboration.  The recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling on illegal gerrymandering only increases the possibility of significant political change in that state. Five districts were previously identified as possible candidates for flipping; the court-ordered redrawing of the electoral districts could create more change. 

Maryland politicians could be good recruits for the Diversity Declaration given their senior status in the leadership and their ability to publicly advance more progressive policies and platforms. Maryland's Congressional District 6 will have an open seat, and our volunteers have already been busy engaging several of the primary candidates!

Want to help us select target races?  We'd love your help!  E-mail us at to get more involved.


Urging Our Senators to Commit to Diversity in Hiring

On February 15, we joined about a dozen other organizations signing onto letters sent by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies to Senator Menendez, recently reinstated as Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Cardin, recently appointed Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

The letters urge the Senators to:

  1. Apply the Rooney Rule and interview at least one person of color for their staff director and general counsel roles;
  2. Commit to hiring diverse candidates throughout their offices to ensure that the demographics of their offices reflect the demographics of their constituents; and
  3. Commit to hiring at least one person of color for their staff director or general counsel position. 

County Council Candidates Talk About Racial Equity and Immigrant Rights

Montgomery County, Maryland is one of the most diverse counties in the United States.  Yet, the County Council has traditionally represented only a fraction of the county's communities.  Local elections matter and it's important to hold our representatives at ALL levels of government accountable to ALL our communities.  That's why your Diversity Matters team decided to check out yesterday's County Executive Forum on Racial Equity and Immigrant Rights.  This grassroots-hosted event raised questions to an all-white, mostly male panel of candidates that they may not usually have to face.  The excellent moderators asked the panelists tough questions about discrimination in housing and zoning, dealing with distrust between police and communities, and how they would handle the Trump administration's aggressive ICE raids and targeting of undocumented immigrants.  We are not endorsing any particular candidate in this county election, but were glad to see candidates pushed to consider what more they could do to reach out and engage the very large immigrant communities that have not had a strong voice in local government.  Candidates were also asked how historical wrongs against the African American community, who have literally had their graves paved over by developers, could be addressed.

We felt all of the candidates could do much more to address these questions but hats off to the event organizers for making sure we were at the table.  We encourage all our supporters to take a look at upcoming local events in your community, and bring your voice to the room.