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Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
September 15, 2010



WASHINGTON— Governments across the world need to reinvest energy to support their diverse communities and make their elected leadership and public servants more reflective of their populations, leaders of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and Congressional Black Caucus said today following minority political participation events in the Capitol.

“Governments in Europe, the United States and elsewhere should start putting effort into uniting their diverse citizenries and stop wasting time dividing them,” Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Co-Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission said after a briefing featuring minority leaders from the United States, France and elsewhere. “We need to strengthen our work across borders to stem the growing tide of intolerance affecting us all in this time of economic uncertainty and realize we have much more to gain by involving our minority communities in the political process than alienating them.”

Co-Chairman Hastings, the first African-American to represent Florida in the U.S. Congress since the post-Civil War period, has co-convened two meetings in Europe reviewing barriers to racial and ethnic minority political participation there.  Today’s event coincided with the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference Capitol Hill Day.

“The Congressional Black Caucus is committed to strengthening partnerships with our minority counterparts in Europe and abroad. Racism, discrimination, and the marginalization of vulnerable populations are pervasive around the globe,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. “We must continue to identify obstacles to effective minority political participation, and more importantly, implement strategies to tear down and overcome these impediments.”

Hastings added: “The members of the European Diversity Caucus and other delegations here today demonstrate that there is a plethora of minority talent in France that will only go to waste if a greater focus is not placed on these communities. Countries should increase public and private sector diversity and anti-discrimination efforts to be sure that talent is utilized.”

Media Contact: Neil Simon
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