WASHINGTON – Derrick Johnson, the chairman of the NAACP, on Tuesday urged President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to create a post of civil rights envoy in the West Wing who would report directly to the president.
“He appointed John Kerry as his climate envoy, reporting directly to him,” Mr Johnson said in an interview before a meeting with Mr Biden in Wilmington, Del., Which included other leading civil rights leaders plan like Reverend Al Sharpton. . “We believe that a national racial justice adviser should be something of the same.”
After an election that took place amid nationwide protests against racial injustice and police violence, civil rights leaders said they also plan to lean on Mr Biden for more senior positions cabinet level, including attorney general, with black people.
As the attorney general oversees respect for civil rights and enforces federal laws prohibiting racial discrimination, Mr Johnson said a new post focused solely on racial justice would have a broader tenure in government agencies. “It would advance equity in governance, budgeting and resources,” he said.
Mr Johnson said Tuesday’s meeting was his first conversation with Mr Biden since the election. was not clear until the meeting whether Mr. Biden would accept the suggestion to tackle systemic racism in America.
But Mr Johnson said he saw the creation of a formal ‘national adviser on justice, equity and advancement’ post, with a fully staffed office, a natural result of promises made by Mr Biden during his campaign. “He spoke about fairness in racial justice,” said Johnson. “In order for his vision to come to fruition, there should be someone reporting to him with that sole responsibility.”
In an interview with CNN last week, Biden noted that “all human rights groups are pushing more and more for what they want. This is their job. He defended his top eight picks as “the most diverse firm anyone in American history has ever announced.”
But the group of civil rights leaders he met on Tuesday is perhaps one of the most experienced in lobbying public officials.
“He said if he won he would do something for criminal justice, police reform and specifically mass incarceration,” said Mr. Sharpton, civil rights leader and talker. show, in a pre-meeting interview. “He flew to Houston to meet before I praised George Floyd. He made specific commitments. I say, promises made, let’s see if the promises are kept.
Among Mr. Sharpton’s questions to Mr. Biden: “What kind of attorney general are we going to have?” How many blacks are going to be in the cabinet? “
Mr. Sharpton called the appointment of General Lloyd J. Austin III as Secretary of Defense, the first African American chosen for the post, “not in a long march”. But he said he still had doubts about Mr. Biden’s choice to head the Justice Department he planned to speak privately, for now.