Over 1,000 Prominent Black Women to Biden: We Need Black Women in Cabinet

letter was sent to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris from 1,000 prominent Black women arguing for
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The following letter was sent to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris from over 1,000 prominent Black women arguing for Black female representation in the new administration's cabinet.

Dear President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris:

We, the undersigned Black women leaders from a variety of backgrounds and experiences from both the public and the private sectors, join the more than 80 million Americans who voted for you and celebrate your and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris’ election.

Again, Black voters, and notably Black women were key to your victory in November. As we know, 91% of Black women voted for your historic ticket and Black women were on the frontlines of this election. Black women continue to lead the charge in advancing voter turnout for the Georgia Senate runoff election which will impact this administration’s ability to advance its agenda and pivotal confirmations. We have put our faith and trust in your vision to move America into a bold future; as we put the last four years of division, racism and hate behind us.

We applaud and celebrate the selection of Linda Greenfield to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Cecilia Rouse to lead the Council of Economic Advisors. Both women are extremely qualified leaders who will bring integrity, wisdom and a deep commitment to serving the American people to their roles. Similarly, we are also pleased to see the talented Black women who have been named to various key roles in the White House.

However, as we look to the historic challenges our country faces and the need for strong, accomplished leaders who reflect the breadth and depth of the American experience that you will need at your side when you take office in January 2021, there are glaring omissions in the most senior ranks.

We write to express how deeply troubled we are by the paltry mention of African-American women leaders as candidates under consideration to lead the 15 executive departments that comprise the President’s Cabinet — the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs and the Department of Justice.

It is long past time that the effective, accomplished leadership of Black women currently serving in areas of significant policy​ that​ impact​s​ ​ou​r nation are recognized and given full consideration for the statutory positions in your administration’s cabinet. Just as Black women and Black Americans were key to your election in November, we are key to the success of your Administration and the implementation of your vision. Our community must see ourselves reflected in key leadership positions in recognition of our importance.

We have included a list of proposed names to be included in those your transition team may already be considering. While the list is not exhaustive, it can serve to broaden the search for highly qualified, talented and proven Black women leaders for consideration.

U.S. Department of Agriculture:

  • US Rep. Marcia Fudge

U.S. Department of Commerce:

  • Ursula Burns (former CEO, Xerox)
  • Marva Small (SVP, Viacom)

U.S. Department of Education:

  • Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole (former president of Bennett College and Spelman College)
  • Dr. Leslie Fenwick (Dean in Residence at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), Dean Emeritus Howard Univ School of Education)
  • Dr. Lily McNair (president of Tuskegee Institute)
  • Dr. Charlene Mickens Dukes ( First Female President of Prince George's County Community College, Board Member, American Association of Community Colleges)

U.S. Department of Energy:

  • Dr. Shirley Jackson

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

  • Heather McTeer Toney (Former Mayor Greenville, MS,Former Regional Administrator for EPA Southeast Region.)

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:

  • Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (Mayor of Atlanta, GA)
  • Mayor Muriel Bowser (Mayor of Washington, DC)

U.S. Department of Justice:

  • Judith Brown Dianis (Advancement Project)
  • Dr. Anita Hill CK Hoeffler (President, National Bar Association)
  • Sherrilyn Ifill (NAACP Legal Defense Fund)

U.S. Department of Transportation:

  • Mayor London Breed (Mayor of San Francisco, CA)
  • Molly Campbell (Port of Los Angeles Board)
  • Honorable Donna Edwards (Former US Representative)
  • Nuria Fernandez (former COO of MTA)
  • Carolyn Flowers (former Administrator, FTA)


Respectfully Submitted,


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