- Black-led organizations call for more diversity outreach and retention on Capitol Hill.
- Over 2,000 letters were written to government officials in Madison, Wisconsin alone.
- Black legislators can propose new ideas from new mandates like the infrastructure bill or early on in presidential administrations.
Many social and racial issues are impacting Black Americans every day, but there are many ways to fight those issues. Generating policy through written letters is standard practice according to a 2020 Protocol report. The advancement of technology has broadened communication strategies in United States legislation. Black legislators and Black Americans are going to greater lengths to create equitable policy.
The report found that people receiving the letters believe they are half-hearted and usually a political courtesy. Progress moving letters come from senators who have an intensive knowledge of timely issues, particularly committee members over the policy area or the panel that funds the agency.
Several Black-led government agencies and local organizations employ letters for diversity improvements and quelling racial discrimination.
Last month, The Congressional Black Associates and The Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus released a letter to America expressing how the current Congressional staff didn’t represent the country and suggested solutions to rectify the issue. A 2020 report by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found that people of color make up 40 percent of the U.S. population but 11 percent of senior Senate staff positions.
To date, the Senate has had two Black people of Congress according to the letter. Of 435 lawmakers in the House of Representatives, less than 30 have Black chiefs of staff. The statistics show that there is no clear pathway for Black workers to be hired in senior-level positions and retain the position.
Black state legislators hold 771 seats out of 7,383, according to the Collective Political Action Committee. The letter insists on adding a College to Congress pipeline with HBCUs and improving wages for everyone.
The Letter Writing Campaign to End Violence against Black People was created to stop lynching and other racial issues against Black Americans in 2020. Dane County Timebank, a community sharing its talents, collaborated with the Transformative Action Network and Freedom Inc. to deliver over 2,000 letters in Madison, Wisconsin, from local government agencies to the president. The initiative also offers letter-writing campaign training where writers can learn how to reach out to elected officials.
Last year, Black Lives Matter created Write Black Love Letters, a United States Postal Service (USPS) campaign to recreate stamps and send love letters. The initiative also looks at the history of Black people and USPS in economic stability and opportunity.
Black Love Letters is BLM’s first economic justice campaign that improves black legacy and finance. Social media remixes of stamps are celebrated by Black people done by talented Black artists like Lauren Halsey and Damon Davis.
Representatives for the campaign believe that the federal government should ensure the long-term success of the USPS through programs like postal banking. Railway Mail Association Remix by Jessi Jumanji is one of the featured stamps that signifies the creation of the National Alliance of Postal Employees (NAPFE), an alliance that protests and organizes around racist policies.
College-to-Congress (C2C), which creates pathways for high-achieving college graduate students and recent graduates to intern in Congress, has implemented more resources to help individuals in underrepresented backgrounds. C2C released C2C University (C2C-U), a self-paced, online curriculum, resource hub and intern placement accelerator.
The program has opened up resources and a pathway for more Black individuals to become congressional workers. C2C-U graduates can be placed with Congressional leaders to learn policy processes and other government activities.
According to Protocol, Black legislators and interested interns can get new ideas across when agencies get new mandates like the recent passing of the infrastructure bill. A new presidential administration is another great window for Black Congressional workers to be vocal on policy issues.
The National Conference Of State Legislators (NCSL) represents legislatures in the federal government, states and territories. The NCSL Standing Committee helps provide an opportunity for legislators and staff to benefit from the experiences of other states in shaping public policy, experimenting with new laws and managing the legislative institutions. The NCSL 2021 legislative conference report unveils how legislators can still introduce written amendments after the October 5th deadline. The committee works with legislators to ensure that any new legislation is heard. Legislative outreach received in the letterform has been a promising medium for Black-led organizations and citizens.
Sponsored Series: This reporting is made possible by the The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation based in Kansas City, Mo., that seeks to build inclusive prosperity through a prepared workforce and entrepreneur-focused economic development. The Foundation uses its $3 billion in assets to change conditions, address root causes, and break down systemic barriers so that all people – regardless of race, gender, or geography – have the opportunity to achieve economic stability, mobility, and prosperity. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with us at www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.