WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.),Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Representative Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.),Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today issued the following statement applauding the appointment of Desirée Cormier Smith as Special Representative for Racial Equity and Justice at the Department of State:
“We applaud the Biden administration’s creation of the new position of Special Representative for Racial Equity and Justice as a positive step forward in our continued efforts to advance a freer, more just, and inclusive global society. The appointment will play a critical role in streamlining our efforts to secure human rights and fight inequality around the world.
As we called for in our letters to Senate and House Appropriations Committees last year, the new position reflects the strength of our nation’s commitment to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in international affairs. As we face the rise of authoritarian regimes pushing racist rhetoric, discriminatory laws, and other fear-based tactics to undermine basic human rights and governance, the Special Representative will work to ensure that our policy and programs promote the safety, security, and prosperity of marginalized communities worldwide.
Now more than ever the Department of State must have the capacity to combat all forms of hate and inequity in line with our democratic values. Adding a Special Representative on Racial Equity and Justice to the Department’s current roster of Ambassadors for Religious Freedom, Global Women’s Issues, and to combat Anti-Semitism alongside the Special Advisor on International Disability Rights, and Special Envoy to LGBTQI+ Rights, will help bolster our global efforts to advance equity while meeting our national security and foreign policy goals. We look forward to supporting the Special Representative in carrying out this necessary and important work.”