Election 2020

DNC Reports Diversity Gains 'to Build a Party That Truly Reflects Every Single Democrat'

DNC Chairman Tom Perez speaks to people gathered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 20, 2018. (Cheriss May/Sipa via AP Images)

The Democratic National Committee said today that they’re made strides “to build a party that truly reflects every single Democrat” with diversity hiring targets at the DNC.

Chairman Tom Perez shook up DNC staffing last year, with several longtime party official ousted as the DNC said it was aiming for fresh voices and greater diversity as Dems tried to heal 2016 rifts. The former Labor secretary moved into the top job in February 2017; after a heated leadership battle with Rep. Keith Ellison, the Minnesota congressman was made deputy chairman.

In a report to party supporters today, DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa said the diversity update was “to both hold ourselves accountable and provide a roadmap for our partners within the progressive movement.”

There was an 80 percent increase last year in DNC officer of color, “a more diverse leadership pool than at any point in our party’s history,” she said, including more than double the previous number of African-American officers.

Among DNC department heads, there was a 67 percent increase in leaders of color and a 40 percent increase in women, who now comprise two-thirds of DNC directorships.

“A major part of the new leadership’s rebuilding process included increasing staffing levels from historic lows following the 2016 cycle in order to ramp up the organizing and mobilizing efforts that led to the past year’s victories. As Tom Perez often notes, personnel is policy and reflects an organization’s priorities,” Hinojosa wrote. “The urgent need to staff up at the DNC provided an immediate opportunity to put our commitment into action.”

The DNC reported an increase in African-American staff by 36 percent, Asian-American/Pacific Islander staff by 30 percent, Latino staff by 34 percent, and LGBTQ staff by 28 percent.

More than half of DNC staff are women, while 44 percent now come from minority communities.

The DNC also stopped automatic contract renewals and cut some pre-existing contracts to reflect “that the contracting and procurement process should create opportunities and be accessible and transparent, and our vendors should reflect the diversity of our country.”

Contracts of more than $5,000 are now tracked by gender, racial, and ethnic diversity. About 2 percent of the DNC’s budget goes to outside operators, Hinojosa said, and 29 percent of that money goes to contracts with women and minority-owned businesses. “We have also put out a national call for diverse vendors to submit their qualifications and intend to share this database of vendors so it is a resource to state parties and our partners in the Democratic community,” she added.

“Democrats believe that our leadership should always reflect the diversity of our party and our country. It is a political and moral imperative,” Hinojosa said. “We simply cannot be effective advocates for the communities we represent if we do not accurately reflect them at every single level —  from staff, to party officers, to elected officials. Our work isn’t complete, but we’ve made unprecedented progress.”