LatinaLista — Another Hispanic Heritage Month has come and gone. There were the usual fiestas and celebrations packed into the last 30 days with enough emphasis on promoting worthy role models that it could be considered a big success.
Yet, while it’s great to celebrate the heritage, given that the spotlight is squarely focused on the Latino community, it was also a perfect opportunity to shed light on something that needs to be talked about and addressed and is hardly ever give the proper attention — the lack of Latino diversity — in management at companies, among academicians at universities, court justices in the judicial system, the U.S. Senate…and the list goes on.
So, on this last day of Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s focus on this issue.
The lack of Latino diversity never grabs people’s attention until somebody breaks it down:
The League of Women Voters is launching a two-year, statewide campaign on the importance of diversity to ensure fair and impartial courts. They’re calling it “Safeguarding U.S. Democracy: Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary.”
“As of June 2009, 46 out of 265 judges in the state of Kansas were women, and women represented only 16 out of 166 judges at the District Court level,” said National League President Mary G. Wilson. “Additionally, there are four African-American, four Latino, one Asian, and no Native-American judges out of 265 throughout the state. We can do better.”
Wilson says a lack a diversity in the judiciary can cause people to lose confidence in the system. She says it can lead to a perception that the courts are not as fair and impartial as they could be.
“Latino Americans may be the nation’s fastest-growing minority group, but they’re also the most underrepresented among civilian federal employees.As of last September, Hispanics accounted for about 8 percent of the total civilian federal workforce, according to the Office of Personnel Management. That’s well below the 13.2 percent of Hispanics in the national civilian labor force, according to Labor Department statistics.”
More: “Of the 25 largest government agencies, 17 saw modest increases in Hispanic hires in fiscal year 2008 over fiscal 2007, with most being made at the lower- and mid-level general schedule levels. At higher levels of government, Hispanics accounted for 3.6 percent of the Senior Executive Service during fiscal year 2008, according to OPM figures.
While the pool of “qualified” Latinos is relatively small, we had two highly qualified and highly ranked Latino candidates for the deanship of Health and Human Services, and for the associate vice president for academic personnel positions, although neither was offered the position.
Only two Latinos chair academic departments university-wide, one being the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies that has the same number of full-time faculty as it had when established 40 years ago.
Only one Latino is a college dean and not one is an associate dean — a critical point as chairs and associate deans are the pipeline to develop competitive candidates for executive management positions.
There are no Latinos currently on the Academic Senate Executive Committee, nor as a chair of any Academic Senate committee or council.
No Latinos were appointed to serve on leadership teams for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation visit in spring 2009 and, in fact, there were no Latinos on any of the WASC committees — a key factor as the WASC evaluation commended CSULB’s stated commitment to diversity, but noted the lack of a strategic plan and vision for making that value a reality.
Foundations are failing to recruit diverse board leadership, with Hispanics being the most under represented compared to their growing number in American society, according to a new report.
The report, by the Greenlining Institute, a public-policy advocacy group in Berkeley, Calif., that has pushed foundations to give more to minority causes, said a quarter of the board members at the 46 wealthiest foundations in America are Hispanic, black, or Asian. Thirteen of the grant makers — 28 percent — had no board members from the three racial and ethnic populations.
The percentages of people on foundation boards who are black or Asian are roughly equal to their part of the American population — roughly 12 and 4 percent, respectively.
But Greenlining said Hispanics, which are the fastest-growing minority group in the country, represent 15 percent of the population, but only 8 percent of the 46 organizations’ board members. More than half the foundations examined do not have one Hispanic board member, it added.
While it’s reported that the Obama Administration has made more Latino appointments among its staff and Cabinet than previous administrations, the same, unfortunately, can’t be said about Congress.
Washington, D.C. —
Congressional staffs are so overwhelmingly white that Capitol Hill needs its own version of the NFL rule requiring teams hiring a head coach to interview at least one person of color, critics tell the Hill. Frustrated staffers, lobbyists, and aides point out that even though more minorities are being elected, just two Senate chiefs of staff aren’t white. “Given such poor numbers, let’s just acknowledge that there is something broken about this process,” said one lobbyist.
“I don’t think people are out-and-out prejudiced, but there’s a lack of effort,” said Robert Primus, one of only five black House chiefs of staff with white bosses. Something like the Rooney Rule, which forces NFL teams to interview black coaching candidates, might help. Harry Reid has created a diversity officer to help Democratic senators hire minorities, but the House hasn’t followed suit.
Diversity is important but, obviously, half the battle is convincing those who hire or appoint that diversity is a necessity in this day and age in this country.