NAACP Pushing Biden To Appoint White House ‘Equity Adviser’

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Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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NAACP President Derrick Johnson is calling for President-elect Joe Biden to appoint a racial equity adviser at the White House following a Tuesday meeting in which Johnson and the heads of other civil rights groups discussed racial issues with Biden.

“The president-elect said racial equity will be a part of his administration. We appreciate that,” Johnson said in a CBSN interview Wednesday. “Now our question is, how do we ensure a successful outcome? The racial equity adviser to the president could hold the portfolio and oversee the process.”


Johnson said a White House racial equity adviser could function like corporate America’s diversity and inclusion officers, who often have executive-level status. He told CBSN that many companies have successfully championed diversity among their consumer base through the use of executive officers who can hold the company accountable.

“It’s the right style [of] business practice, it should be the sound practice of our governance to make sure we celebrate our diversity, build on our diversity and look toward the opportunities of the future,” Johnson said.

National Urban League CEO Marc Morial and National Action Network leader Reverend Al Sharpton were also in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The group discussed topics ranging from voting rights to expanding the diversity of Biden’s upcoming administration, according to CBS News.

“Their job is to push me,” Biden said of his planned meeting with civil rights leaders in a Dec. 3 interview with CNN host Jake Tapper. “My job is to keep my commitment and make the decisions.” Biden also told Tapper he was committed to building the most diverse Cabinet in American history.

Civil rights leaders spoke positively of their meeting with Biden and Harris but reiterated that their support would be contingent on the upcoming administration’s policies, ABC News reported. (RELATED: ‘Expansive Power’: Here’s Who Progressives Want To See In Joe Biden’s Cabinet)

Civil rights leaders are closely watching who Biden picks for attorney general given the power of the Department of Justice (DOJ) over issues like racial justice and voting rights, CBS News reported. “My preference, I said to him, is to have a Black attorney general,” Sharpton told reporters after the meeting.

“This is someone who needs to walk into the door of the job, who knows immediately what to do — the power and authority of the DOJ — and depoliticize how the department has been politicized over the last four years,” Johnson told CBSN regarding the attorney general nomination.