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Dec 10, 2020

Melanie L. Campbell Joins Other Civil Rights Leader in Meeting with President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris

NCBCP President Stresses a Need for More Black Women in Statutory Cabinet-Level Posts; Importance of Addressing Implicit Bias in Healthcare Delivery; Emphasize the Need for the White House Council on Gender Equity to include racial justice; and Highlight the Importance of Paid Family Leave Being Included in the COVID19 Recovery Package

Washington, DC (December 10, 2020) -- On Tuesday, December 8, Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable, and the leaders of six other prominent civil rights and social justice organizations, held a historic, impactful virtual meeting with President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. The purpose of the meeting was to have an earnest discussion about civil rights, economic & racial equity and social justice and increased diversity in the Biden-Harris Cabinet.

During the meeting that lasted almost 90 minutes, Ms. Campbell was joined by Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League; Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President, National Action Network; Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; and Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP.

n offering her thoughts about the first official meeting between the seven civil rights and social justice organizations and the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect, Ms. Campbell stated, “Like my civil rights colleagues, I definitely felt it was a very positive meeting.  I not only thanked the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect for offering my colleagues and I the opportunity to engage in a dialogue, I shared that on behalf of Black women that I represent and I personally thanked President-Elect Biden for selecting now Vice President-Elect Harris as his running mate. And I also thanked Vice President-Elect Harris for selecting him as well. Also, I thanked President-Elect Biden for meeting with me and a delegation of Black women leaders earlier this year, including Clayola Brown, Minyon Moore and others, to recommend he select a Black woman to serve as his VP running mate.

I thanked them both for the Black women already selected to serve in the Cabinet and in the White House, including Linda Thomas-Greenfield as US Ambassador to the UN and Cecilia Rouse to lead the Council on Economic Advisors, as well as Simone Sanders, Karine Jean-Pierre, Tina Flournoy, Marcella Nunez-Smith and several others to serve in senior positions in the Administration.  All exceptionally qualified Black women.

“In addition, I stressed that it is vitally important for Black women, who bring lived experience and expertise, to serve in statutory cabinet positions -- leaders like Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Congresswoman Karen Bass, as well as Congresswoman Marica Fudge and Susan Rice, who have now been selected to serve as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, respectively. In response, President-Elect Biden said that before he is done, we will see more Black women in his Administration. Black women plan to hold him to that promise.

“With regard to policy recommendations to the incoming Administration from the NCBCP and Black Women’s Roundtable, based on my own personal experiences as a COVID-19 survivor, as well as that of several of my own close family members currently in hospitals with COVID19----I earnestly shared that there is a need to address the implicit bias issues Black people are facing in our nation’s healthcare delivery system. I urgently requested that the incoming Administration’s COVID Task Force pay special attention to what is happening with African Americans when they seek treatment in hospitals. There needs to be a close look given to the racial disparities in hospital care, especially as it relates to who is admitted when they show up for treatment based on race and gender.

“When it comes to equitable vaccine distribution, we recommend that the COVID Task Force engage in active community outreach and communications, utilizing trusted organizations and trusted voices within the community. And I have offered our organizations to be of assistance in this effort.

“In addition, I recommended to President-Elect Biden that the COVID-19 Recovery package currently being discussed in Congress needs to include paid family and medical leave, especially since Black people are heavily employed as essential workers and many of our people cannot work from home.

“Finally, I reminded the President-Elect that I had worked closely with the White House Council on Women & Girls during the Obama Administration and I believe it is very important that the incoming White House Council on Gender Equity is centered with a gender and racial equity lens.

“Our meeting with President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris concluded with all parties agreeing it is important to meet on a regular bases moving forward. Also, agreed to keep our lines of communications open and that we will encourage an open, ongoing dialogue. As a group, we let it be known that we plan to hold this Administration accountable when it comes to matters of civil rights, racial & economic justice and equality impacting Black Americans.”

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