Chairman Menendez Leads Senator Markey and Other SFRC Dems in Introducing the Department of State Inclusivity Act

Legislation to build diversity in the department through recruitment, retention and promotion strategies; advocate and apologize for the role of the Ministry and Congress in the “lavender horror”; instruct the department to thoroughly report, document, and investigate complaints of sexual harassment and assault by employees


WASHINGTON (December 16, 2021) – U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) And the entire Democratic Bank of the Foreign Relations Committee, today with Bob Menendez (DN.J.), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate, in introduction into the U.S. Department of State Inclusivity Act of 2021, new legislation to assess and strengthen the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ efforts towards diversity, equity and inclusion. By committing the department to develop and strengthen recruitment, retention, and promotion strategies and mechanisms to build a more diverse workforce, including establishing the chief diversity officer’s office and expanding existing diversity initiatives, the legislation seeks, and Address the department’s well-documented shortcomings in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“I am proud to co-sponsor this bill to ensure that our diplomatic corps fully represents the diversity of our country in all offices around the world.” said Senator Markey. “The passage of this bill will also help us face the injustice of the ‘Lavender Scare,’ which has turned the lives of State Department staff upside down simply because of the person they loved or how they identified the Scourge sexual harassment. ”


“The Foreign Ministry’s long history of failing to create a professional environment that empowers under-represented and minority employees and honors the diversity of its workforce is completely unacceptable. As I have said many times before, diversity in the ranks of the State Department at all levels is both a moral and a national security imperative, and the diversity of the American people is our greatest strength – we just cannot afford to lead with them anything but that. It is of the utmost importance to fully represent the broad and rich spectrum of backgrounds of all Americans and to champion core American values ​​abroad. ” Chairman Menendez said. “Should the US hope to continue to legitimize leadership positions on the world stage and strengthen the voices of those calling for important change, we must ensure that the doors of our national security bureaucracy are open to all who wish to serve regardless.” Race, gender, sexuality, belief, or any other historically underrepresented status. As the SFRC’s first Latino chair and senior Latino in Congress, I am very proud to introduce this critical piece of legislation in recognition of the fact that our ability to conduct robust diplomacy and project democratic ideals overseas is based on our championship for diversity and Justice is based and inclusion in the home. ”

Together with Chairman Menendez, the Senators supported Cory Booker (DN.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ben Cardin (D-Md .), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Coons (D-Del.) And Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

“It is important to US diplomatic efforts and US global leadership to ensure that State Department personnel reflect the diversity of the United States. To ensure this, it is important to reverse the many barriers that have historically prevented minority Americans from serving their country. ” said Senator Booker. “This sensible legislation will help develop strategies that improve the ministry’s recruitment and retention policies in order to build a more diverse workforce. It also helps create a safer workplace by creating important mechanisms to strengthen the State Department’s ability to investigate allegations of sexual assault and harassment by State Department staff and to hold those involved in such activities accountable to pull. “

“A strong State Department is vital to our efforts to maintain and advance American diplomacy around the world. And the key to having a strong foreign policy is realizing America’s full potential by ensuring that the State Department team reflects the rich diversity and talents of the American people. This legislation aims to do just that by helping the State Department reflect a better image of America and by strengthening retention and promotion strategies that promote justice and inclusion among the State Department. ” said Senator Van Hollen.

“Our diplomatic corps exists to represent the United States abroad, and that representation should reflect the diversity of our nation. This bill is intended to help the State Department to become a true mirror of our society. ” said Senator Shaheen. “I am also pleased that this law contains provisions to pass stronger policies against sexual assault and harassment that should not be tolerated at any level of government. I will continue to prioritize legislation that strengthens our diplomatic corps and invests in diversity initiatives to increase representation in our security structures. “

“I am proud to sponsor the State Department Inclusivity Act 2021, which will modernize the State Department’s diversity and inclusion policies to support the women and men representing America overseas. This bill will help America’s diplomatic corps represent the rich diversity of the American people. Using a wider range of backgrounds will lead to stronger, smarter, and more innovative policy outcomes for US interests. ” said Senator Kaine.

“As Chair of the Department of State’s Foreign Relations Subcommittee for the Department of State and USAID’s management, I am proud to support this bill, which calls for a comprehensive plan to improve the Department of State’s approach to diversity, justice and inclusion increase attitudes and loyalty “of underrepresented groups”, said Senator Cardin. “Our bill will help move the State Department into the 21stst Century and will also correct some past mistakes and relieve at least 1,000 people who were wrongly dismissed for alleged homosexuality in the 1950s and well into the 1960s. “

“Americans who want to serve their country should never face obstacles or discrimination because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or mother tongue.” said Senator Merkley. “We should celebrate those who lead public service lives and ensure that those opportunities and the chance to rise to the highest levels are open to all. The US State Department’s Inclusivity Act of 2021 is an important step in the right direction to review and promote the department’s efforts towards diversity, equity and inclusion. “

“I am proud to support this important law together with my Senate colleagues.” said Senator Coons. “America’s diplomats should reflect the great diversity of our country. Indeed, one of the State Department’s many strengths lies in the unique perspectives and backgrounds of these dedicated officials within the agency. This bill would ensure that our diplomats operate in an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. It would expand the department’s diversity initiatives and strengthen the recruitment and retention of a workforce that represents all of American society. This bill will help create a State Department that will more effectively represent American interests and values ​​at home and abroad. “

“American diplomats who represent our interests and values ​​abroad should reflect our diversity at home. It is time to modernize the State Department and this bill will help us build an even stronger diplomatic corps, including the communities that have historically been excluded from these spaces. ” said Senator Murphy.

In addition to the recognition of the participation of the Ministry and the Congress in the “Lavender Schrecke” U.S. Department of State Inclusivity Act of 2021 Establishes an arbitration panel to investigate complaints from former employees who have been wrongly dismissed because of their alleged sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill also instructs the department to rigorously report, document, and investigate allegations of sexual harassment and assault against employees, and to create a permanent exhibit on Lavender Scare at the National Museum of American Diplomacy that will expand Senator Menendez’s letterpressing in 2021 in remembrance of the unlawful dismissal of at least 1,000 State Department employees in the 1950s and 1960s for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Building on the introduction of the by Chairman Menendez in 2020 Federal Professional ActThe new legislation serves as a continuation of Senator Menendez’s various oversight efforts to address diversity in the ministry, including himself, which will require the development and implementation of a government-wide initiative to nurture, expand and retain diverse talent across the federal workforce U.S. Department of State Inclusivity Act 2020, Law to Relieve Victims of Lavender Offenses, or LOVE law, and 2020 SFRC Democratic Staff report
This revealed that Department officials believed that senior management did not encourage or hug various teams, which, along with the Trump administration’s disparaging and damaging responses to racial injustice, contributed to a historic collapse in employee morale.

In 2020, Senator Menendez also requested a study from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to look at the demographic makeup of the State Department workforce, differences in promotion scores among different groups within the workforce, and the extent to which the department has obstacles to the Diversity in its workforce. In particular, the GAO report highlighted critical attachment issues, persistent underrepresentation, and a significant shortage of individuals and women in leadership positions who identify minorities.

Find a copy of the legislation HERE.

Find a section-by-section summary of the legislation HERE.

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