Members of Congress
Adopt a Diversity Plan
Develop a written office diversity and inclusion plan that includes recruitment and hiring goals, staff retention and development strategies, data collection and analysis procedures, a clear allocation of responsibilities and performance evaluation implementation plan, and unconscious bias training for all managerial staff involved in recruitment, hiring, evaluation, and retention.
Use Diversity Resources
For best practices and leads on diverse candidates, contact the House Office on Diversity & Inclusion, the Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative, staff associations, the Tri-Caucus nonprofit organizations (i.e., The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), and Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS)), and other organizations similarly focused on diversity in government. Use the resources provided by Representative Democracy on how to build a more diverse and inclusive office.
Establish a Bipartisan Senate Diversity and Inclusion Office
Just as the U.S. House of Representatives has done, the U.S. Senate should establish a bipartisan Senate Diversity and Inclusion Office that helps Senate offices recruit, hire, train, develop, and retain a diverse workforce, and collects and discloses disaggregated demographic data of all staff.
Read Our Coalition Letters to Congress
Read our letters, signed by 70 organizations, to new House members, new senators, returning House members, and returning senators, calling on members of Congress to prioritize hiring diverse top staff. Read our blog post to learn more.
Contact Your Representatives
Tell your House member and Senators to prioritize diversity in staff hiring, retention, and promotion.
Know which congressional district you live in by entering your zip code in this website.
Read Our Research
Explore the Data
The 118th Congress tracker allows users to learn how new and returning members of Congress are faring when it comes to hiring diverse top staff in their personal offices.
Read the House Report
The Joint Center’s 2022 report found that people of color account for 40 percent of the U.S. population, but only 18 percent of all top House staff (chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and communications directors in the Washington, D.C. personal offices; chiefs of staff, policy directors, and communications directors in the top leadership offices of each political party; and staff directors assigned to full committees).
Read the Senate Report
The Joint Center’s 2020 report found that people of color account for 40 percent of the U.S. population, but only 11 percent of all top Senate staff (chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and communications directors).
In the Media
The Hill exclusively covered the launch of our Hill Diversity campaign and letter signed by 70 organizations calling for new and returning members of Congress to prioritize diversity when hiring their top staff.
In a statement, Dr. LaShonda Brenson, a senior researcher at the Joint Center, said the current lack of diversity in congressional offices indicates that “key voices and perspectives are not being heard in rooms where major decisions are made.”
The New York Times
Joint Center Senior Researcher Dr. LaShonda Brenson told The New York Times that she is seeing a trend of top Black staff leaving Capitol Hill, eroding their already scarce numbers. Her comments followed a call by Black congressional staff for Congress to address low pay, limited career pipelines, and a senior staff that does not look like America.
Joint Center Senior Researcher Dr. Lashonda Brenson was quoted in Roll Call, advocating for a bipartisan diversity and inclusion office in the Senate.
“We can’t solve problems when we don’t have data and an understanding of what it looks like,” said Dr. Brenson. “If they were to establish a bipartisan office and work together as the House has done over the last several years, I think that could send a strong statement to the American people.”
The Joint Center’s panel entitled Advancing Black Agency at the 2022 Future of Black Communities Summit was covered by C-SPAN. According to Joint Center Senior Researcher Dr. LaShonda Brenson, “diversity has always been a challenge, especially in key positions on the Hill.”
The Washington Post
Joint Center Senior Researcher Dr. LaShonda Brenson was quoted in Vox discussing congressional staff diversity and unionization efforts.
“While it may be unintentional, the lack of diversity among staff in senior positions is essentially shutting out millions of Americans with distinct preferences and experiences from the policymaking process,” said Dr. Brenson in a 2021 panel that was quoted in Vox.