Washington Foreign Press Briefing on “The Critical Role of Racial Justice and Equity in U.S. Foreign Policy”

Washington Foreign Press Center Briefing on “The Critical Role of Racial Justice and Equity in U.S. Foreign Policy.” August 31, 2022.


Okay, good afternoon and welcome to the Washington foreign press centers briefing on the critical role of racial justice and equity and US foreign policy. We are hosting this briefing today in recognition of international day for people of African descent, my name is Doris Robinson and I am the briefing moderator and now for the ground rules this briefing is on the record. We will post the transcript and video of the briefing later today on the foreign press center website at f p c dot state dot gov for participants on zoom please make sure that your zoom profile has your full name and media outlet that you represent. And now I will introduce our distinguished briefers first Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield, us representative to the United Nations Special Representative for racial justice and equity Desiree come er smith Howard University Law Professor Justin Hansford and I understand chairman of the house Foreign Affairs Committee, the honorable congressman Gregory W Meeks will be joining us later a link to all of the briefers bio or in the briefing announcement and with that each of the brief first will make opening remarks and then we’ll open for your questions first. We will hear from ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield over to you. Thank you so much Doris and thank you so much to everyone for joining us in marking the international day for people of African descent and thank you in particular to Representative Meek’s special representative Cormier smith and Professor Hanford’s for leading and lending their time and talents today. This day is personal for me having grown up in the segregated south, I was moved to tears. The first, the very first time I set foot in Africa. The warm welcome that I received knowing I was in the land of my ancestors was beautiful and inspiring and I have never forgotten that day. It made me determined to support all peoples of African descent throughout my career. So I am beyond proud that the United States is joining so many others around the world in both honoring and celebrating the second international day for people of African descent. For me, honoring this day means not shrinking away from our painful past or our current responsibilities to remove the rot of systemic racism from our societies. Earlier this month, the United States presented its report to the committee on the elimination of racial discrimination in Geneva. The report highlighted our many actions across our entire government to address racial and ethnic discrimination in the United States. We engage closely with civil society and with the committee on that report and we’re absolutely absolutely committed to making that progress. The appointment of Desiree Cormier is just one more example of that commitment. But this is not only Asylum Day, it is also a day of celebration. We should celebrate all people of African descent and our many collective contributions to the world. We should celebrate the hard won progress we’ve made over the past decades even though we still have so much further to go and we should celebrate the creation of the permanent form for people of African descent. This new and necessary space represents a real tangible victory at the U. N. I know Professor Hanford’s decades of experience and commitment to racial justice will be pivotal towards shaping and sustaining this critical new body and I know this forum will benefit all people of African descent for years to come. Thank you very much. Thank you Ambassador. We will next turn to Special Representative Desiree come er smith. Thank you and thank you for having me. Good afternoon. I’m Desiree Cormier smith. In June of this year. U. S. Secretary of state Antony Blinken appointed me as the State Department’s first ever special representative for racial equity and justice. In this historic new role, I am focused on advancing racial and ethnic equity and justice globally through our foreign affairs work. It is my job to ensure that U. S. Foreign policy programs and processes advance the human rights of people belonging to marginalized racial and ethnic groups including indigenous peoples and that we are working to combat systemic racism, discrimination, violence and xenophobia around the world. This work has always been near and dear to my heart. I grew up in Inglewood California where my grandfather Larry Aubry, a renowned black activist in the area, dedicated his life to the pursuit of justice and equality. When I first began my career in foreign policy, he reminded me that there were problems in our own community and encouraged me to focus my energy and talents at home. But I decided to do both pursue a career in foreign policy. While never losing touch with the struggles here at home because I believe as Maya Angelou put it, none of us is free until all of us are free. Anti-black racism and the devaluation of black lives has plagued the world for centuries. From the transatlantic slave trade to the devastating colonization on the African continent, to hate crimes and predatory community violence to blatant and institutionalized racism that codified income inequality, health disparities and poverty into law. This distinct type of racism is one that people of African descent around the world know all too well. Today, the international day for people of African descent is an opportunity for the world to bring global attention to the various forms of discrimination faced by people of African descent everywhere. As U. N. Secretary General Gutierrez put it it is a long overdue recognition of the profound injustices and systemic discrimination that people of African descent have endured for centuries and continue to confront today. This is why the United States was proud to strongly support the creation of the U. N. Permanent form on people of African descent and why as Ambassador Thomas Greenfield noted, we nominated Howard Law Professor Justin Hansford to serve on the inaugural body, systemic racism makes societies less stable less peaceful and less prosperous. So beyond it being the morally right thing to do. Addressing racial inequities is in our national security interests. This is why the United States is committed to advancing equity for members of marginalized racial and ethnic communities, both at here here at home and abroad. And to give you a sense of what that means in practice. Let me offer just a few examples of what the State Department is doing around the world. In brazil. The United States is supporting local partners to document and report on human rights violations and abuses against afro descendants and to promote religious tolerance and reduce violence and discrimination against practitioners of African based religions in Colombia. Us implementing partners work at the national and local levels to support more effective and inclusive political truth telling and accountability processes to prioritize the needs of afro Colombian indigenous and Campesino populations in Mauritania Mali and. The United States supports improved social integration and economic empowerment for former hereditary slaves and strengthens the local the legal and political systems that identify and protect those vulnerable to slavery, exploitation and re enslavement in the Middle East and North Africa U. S. Programs support the development of laws and good governance processes that are inclusive of the needs of historically marginalized communities. These programs consider the specific vulnerabilities of communities whose race and socioeconomic class compound to contribute to political, economic and social marginalization. But let me be clear today is not only a day of solemn acknowledgement of past and ongoing injustices and a reminder that we still have so much work left to do. It is also a day of celebration On August 31 we, sorry, we encourage all nations to come together to acknowledge and commemorate the indispensable contributions of Africans and people of African descent around the world. Despite the injustices inflicted upon us, people of African descent have always had a global impact on human civilization. The influence of black people can be found in art, science, agriculture, medicine, politics, music, fashion, media, food, sports and almost every other facet of society around the world. My late grandfather wrote a weekly column in Los Angeles, los Angeles oldest and largest black newspapers for 30 years. So it’s only right that I borrow a quote from him today. In one of his last columns, he said quote black Americans are proud of their heritage and confident of their future and wherever you look, you will find them working, playing, worshiping, dreaming, creating and expressing their cherished freedom in the spirit of the country. They would like to help make a model for democratic peoples everywhere. End quote while he was speaking specifically about black Americans. I think this rings true for people of African descent everywhere around the world. I’m incredibly honored to be here today alongside colleagues and friends who are working tirelessly to create a more just world where all people are valued and included and no one is prevented from living up to their full potential simply because of their race or ethnicity. I’m also humbled to take part in honoring the diverse heritage, culture and contributions of people of African descent to societies everywhere. James Baldwin once said quote not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced end quote. The history and legacy of anti-black racism may be uncomfortable to face head on. But the United States can the United States must and the United States is doing just that. Together. We have the power to create a better world for people of African descent which will inherently be a better world for everyone. Thank you. Thank you. Special representative Professor Hansford Good afternoon. A people without knowledge of their history, their origin and their culture is like a tree without roots. These are some of the words shared by Marcus Garvey that helped me decide early on in my life to dedicate as much energy as I possibly could to the fight for black liberation today, I have been honored to have been granted the intriguing assignments to help launch the new and historic United Nations permanent forum for the people for people of African descent. I see this work first and foremost as the realization of a dream that has been held by black people around the world for many generations. A dream that was reinvigorated in the activism that’s that sprouted up in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in 2020 as my colleagues on the permanent forum noted in our statement which we released earlier this morning In honor of the 2nd annual day for people of African descent. This permanent forum will be a mechanism committed to following Garvey’s path which he blazed over 100 years ago and they campaigned for Pan Africanism and human rights for people of African descent around the world. Garvey’s path is not the only one that we follow today as we launch our work to support human rights and the African diaspora. I am a professor of law at Howard University, the highly prestigious historically black university that was founded in 18 67 here in Washington, D. C. This is my alma mater as well as the alma mater of the first African American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African American vice president of the United States, uh Kamala Harris and many other luminaries um including uh congressman Gregory Meeks who will be joining us shortly. The legacy of African Americans involved in global affairs that have emerged from Howard is also illustrious. It includes ralph Bunche recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and an integral part of the creation of the United Nations itself. Ambassadors such as Clyde Ferguson Ambassador to Uganda Horace Dawson ambassador to Botswana and legal activists such as Pauli Murray and Lisa Crooms. Robinson, I am also the founder and executive director of Howard’s Thurgood Marshall Civil rights Center, our flags flagship institutional home for human rights and civil rights research and activism. The involvement of our center is key because I intend to include that centers approach to fighting for civil rights and human rights. In my work at the permanent forum at the center were known for bringing an approach that includes a commitment to scholarship that is going to fight the battle of ideas in the ivory tower, a commitment to movement loitering which includes legal activism, lawsuits and policy advocacy for civil rights, and also a commitment to supporting grassroots movements and community organizers so so that we can continue to build community in our diaspora Again, there are many, there are many scholars that have collaborated with Howard University over the years, scholars in the field of human rights scholars like Gerald Horne, scholars like Derrick Bell, some of the scholars I admire the most. There are lawyers like Gay McDougall and Randall Robinson, who have been pragmatic advocates for human rights on a global scale. And of course there are activists like Kwame Ture who have come out of Howard University who have continued to engage in global advocacy for people of African descent this nomination and this election has allowed me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who are continuing that legacy of fighting for human rights for black people all over the world and I’m very proud to work alongside them to fulfill the mandates of the permanent forum. There are there are nine mandates that which we were given by the United Nations to fulfill. Uh and it takes it’ll take a long time to describe them all in detail but I’m going to describe them very briefly for you number one to contribute to the process of ensuring that people of African descent have access to their full civil rights and human rights wherever they are located all over the world, all over the world. Number two to provide advice to members of the U. N. Community, including special rapid tours, members of the General Assembly, members of the Human Rights Council and others who need consultation or seek consultation when it comes to rights involving people of African descent. Number three to help to collaborate to create a new declaration of rights for people of African descent number four to explore best practices, challenges and opportunities when it comes to advocacy for people of African descent number five to monitor and review the evolution and progression of the decade for people of African descent. Number six to prepare and disseminate information to the general public about human rights as they involve people of African descent number seven. To continue to coordinate with other agencies in the U. N. Working together to support human rights number eight to gather more data on the diaspora and number nine to offer recommendations and respond to requests that will be delivered by the General Assembly or the Human Rights Council involving issues uh pertaining to people of African descent. So it’s my intention to ensure that over the course of my term as a member of this permanent forum, I live up to some of the examples set before me as as a member of the Howard University community, both an alumni and a professor and an admirer of many of the people who have paved our way when it comes to advocacy for for pan Africanism and the rights of black people throughout the world. Martin Luther King Jr famously said that uh we live in a world house where people from all parts of the world are connected in what he called a beloved community. It’s my intention with your help to ensure that people of African descent fulfill their greatest potential and continue to make sure that they contribute to the development of our global community by fully exploring our advocacy for human rights to the utmost. So thank you and I look forward to working with you all. Thank you professor and we are pleased to introduce Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the honorable congressman Gregory W Meeks, thank you very much. I know I’m a little bit late. So I know Doris uh was up here and speaking, I want to thank Doris for all of her work and and and and uh and for mine, I apologize for my delay for being here. I’d like to thank the foreign Press Center also, but of course Howard University, you know, I’m a proud grant of Howard Law school, the proud father of two. Howard University graduates, might two of my three daughters, uh Howard Grads uh and of course the Department of State for organizing and Desiree Cormier smith for what she’s doing and helping to organize and facilitating this very important event. And I’m proud to stand here today with my friend and I know who spoke earlier, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Linda, Thomas, Greenfield special and uh and to be with this distinguished Howard University professor and human rights advocate, Justin Hansford, who I am pleased uh to say that I was one of many early supporters of his nomination to become a member of the permanent forum on people of African descent at the United Nations. We need voices, voices like theirs in our multilateral institutions in diplomacy and in all facets of decision making. I’m out here. I’m honored to be here today to support this international day of recognition. Reaffirming our commitment to honor the proud legacies built by people of African descent, all of whose shoulders we stand on In this 8th year of international decade for people of African descent, we are reminded that we’ve come far but still have a long way to go to ensure access for people of African descent to all aspects of public life, to build stronger economies more just societies and promote a greater knowledge of and respect for our diverse heritage and traditions. Over 200 million people of African descent, many of them the direct descendants of the enslaved Africans shape the region in which we live influencing its growth, innovation, development and unique blend of cultures. The United States is inextricably connected to many countries by a common history of colonialism, conquest, the transatlantic slave trade, but we’re also linked by an unwavering desire to enjoy freedom, equality, representation and prosperity, not just for a few, but for us all. And as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I am deeply festive and the promise of prosperity of innovation and responsible growth. But these goals will not be met if we do not recognize that our national interest, suffering and potential are all very closely linked what affects our neighbors, impacts us here. Our future is also tied to the fate of many historically marginalized groups. We must support and protect these communities in the region and around the world and lead a global commitment to continue to fight the global pandemic and to ensure sustainable development, inclusive investment, lasting peace and of course prosperity. This also means that we should ensure that local communities are consulted consulted and remain engaged in key stakeholders before international finance infrastructure project begins their work and that our policy is immuned with respect for the rule of law and human rights so that to address the violence and inequities that still today is faced by many African descendants, indigenous and rural communities around the world over the years. I’ve been a strong proponent, A program would seek to provide access to economic, educational and leadership opportunities for people of African descent and other historically marginalized people. My office has championed initiatives at the State Department to support the international decade for people of African descent such as the US brazil joint Action Plan and the Colombian Action Plan on racial and ethnic equality and the creation of a unit designated to support these issues in the Western hemisphere as well as foreign assistance and alignment with these programs at U. S. A. I. D. Just this earlier this month, I had the pleasure of seeing that commitment at work. During a recent delegation visit to Colombia led by administrative Samantha Power, who announced a $60 million Afro Colombians in February. I led a delegation to several countries on the continent of Africa, including Sierra, Leone and Liberia, where the theme of an indelible bond between the members of the African diaspora and the United States and the continent was underscored throughout our entire visit again in my capacity as chairman, I will continue to make full use of the committee’s oversight responsibilities to ensure that the State Department and U. S. A. I. D. Are committed to expanding diversity and hiring efforts as well as increasing efforts to address the global rise in racial discrimination and gender based violence. I remain steadfast in my belief that by building and strengthening regional and global partnerships and investing in global black, global black diaspora. We can ensure that we support the pillars of the decade for people of African descent. We can only do it if we all bond together and it’s not on the back burner, it’s not just a day, it’s not just a month or a week, it’s not even just a year. It is something that we continue to focus on collectively because we know if we don’t the future for everyone will be in doubt. This is the time for all of us to unite and for the United States of America to show its commitment indeed its leadership and making sure that justice, that equality and equity and inclusion is everywhere. You find individuals of African descent. Thank you so very much for the opportunity to engage with you this afternoon. Thank you congressman Meeks and thank you to our Panelist. We will now open for questions for journalists in the room, please raise your hand and wait for the microphones and for me to call on you for a journalist on zoom. Please click on the raised hand icon and when I call on you, please turn on your video and state your name and your media outlets. So let’s start in the front row here with Alex Rafa glue from Tehran news agency Azerbaijan, thank you so very much Doris and I thank all the speakers for being here today. I have two questions. The first one is easier one as it can go to a special representatives. Um If you don’t mind how many U. S. Diplomatic missions abroad right now are led by people of color and how could you describe that that evolving process, how it looked like before and how many um let’s say ambassadors or mission chiefs are right now acting secondly congressmen have been following your career for a long time. Um When we think about the major foreign policy challenge of the day which is you know Russia Ukraine a topic. You mentioned one of the subject of the connectors between the U. S. Foreign policy and um and the countries I brought is colonialism something that was missing for a long time from what Russia was doing in the wider region. I was wondering how much the people of color shape yours from policy. Not in terms of how it looks like but also how it acts like how much colonialism is the case or should be the case when you focus on the post-Soviet region like particular given what’s going on right now in that afterwards. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for your question. Um I will address your first question then turn it over to the chairman for your second question on the question of the number of uh diplomats of color abroad. I don’t have the specifics because that work on making sure that the State Department’s workforce is reflective of the American uh people um is led by our chief diversity and inclusion officer, uh Gina Abercrombie Winstanley. So her work obviously is complimentary to the work that I’m doing. But she is focused on making sure that we have a diplomatic corps that looks like America. I’m focused on making sure our foreign policies are aiming to eliminate racism, discrimination and xenophobia. Great question. You know, I believe that number one is not enough policymakers of African descent. You know, when you think about history, I’m the first chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee that is of African descent in the history of this country. And if you don’t think about history and where you came from and how things evolved, then you missed the boat. So colonialism clearly plays a huge role in a big role in what took place on the continent of Africa, just like those that were brought over here in the halls of the slave ships and were enslaved in the Western hemisphere plays a huge role in who we are and what we are, whether you’re in south America or north America. So those policy decisions and those thoughts and that’s why diversity in every area is tremendously important because those individuals who come from that will initiate talk and advocate from those positions. Those voices when they’re not there are missing. And my hope would be by those voices being there because of that diversity. It will create an opportunity for even those who have caramelized or enslaved to understand what took place and then how we work collectively to move forward to correct the wrongs of the past and make that there’s prosperity equality in the in the present and in the future. Professor. Yeah well very briefly I I also am certainly of the belief that the importance of having people of color in particular people of African descent as part of any uh American voice abroad is integral because we are representing and we are continuing to live out a particular unique experience that is reflected in our values and our culture and I think that our contributions to those discussions would be very important to continue to consider. So I also believe that uh my role in the permanent form um we are looking to ensure that the U. N. And other mechanisms continue to include the voices of people of African descent at all levels of decision making and whatever we can do to support that and to provide recommendations for people to continue to engage with people of African descent. We’re happy to do so. Thank you Congressman Meeks. Did you have time for one more question?

I know you have to leave. Thank you. So let’s go to online. Um let’s go to Pearl Mattie Bay with 98.7 F. M. South Africa Pearl, can you go ahead and ask your question. Thank you so much Doris and I appreciate uh congressman Meeks time. So I do have a question for all our briefings, but let me get with the Chairman first so that he can address that question. I’m hoping to provoke a conversation with my questions with you. So chairman Meeks firstly, thank you so much for being available today and engaging with me today. I appreciate your oversight on foreign affairs. Now we know from President Biden’s new strategy towards Africa that there are at least two million who are closely uh these are people of African descent in the United States were closely connected socially and otherwise to their families, friends and communities in in sub Saharan Africa and the U. N. Agrees that the challenges are compounded by exclusion. And we see this in for example, the Zimbabwean diaspora, for example, who are gravely concerned about not being able to vote in their 2023 elections. So in what ways can your champion effective justice through foreign policy?

And as you said, it’s not just a day, a week or a year. What then can truth telling achieve, say in free and fair elections or in the hopes of creation of a just democratic society?

S 14 is still a monarch. That might be another example. What does justice look like from where you sit. Chairman means. Um and then to Ambassador Thomas Greenfield, I do have a question for you. It’s always a pleasure to speak with you by the way. And I appreciate your the element of your personal story that you share today. I know that President Biden is keen to show that he is um Ambassador had to leave. I will take your I’ll send the question to you later on that. I’ll go ahead to Professor Hansford. I’ve written about how Zimbabwean diaspora is marginalized issues of racism and diaspora. Remittances are not the only challenges that African diaspora face. So can you comment on the feasibility of the indigenous African diaspora being unable to vote in a in their home country because some countries in Africa do allow citizens living outside their borders voting rates and you know identical to their own citizens, but not every country does go south, for example, does Namibia South Africa do, but not all countries do. And then I’d appreciate special representative Mia Smith. If you’ve got anything you’d like to change and I welcome insights. Thank you so much for your time. I’ll send other things later, connect with you later. Thanks. Thank you. Let me just say the first thing that you know, and I think that I have a responsibility here and when I was elected uh to be the chair of this committee. That one of the first things that I committed to. And I said this to my colleagues whether or not they were members of the congressional Black caucus or not, whether they were members of the uh Hispanic caucus or any other caucus, I said that my intent as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is to take Africa off the back burner and put it on the front burner so that we will then do and continue to have hearings and oversight on the continent in the full committee, not just in the subcommittee where we were very ably supported and worked by Chairwoman Karen Bass, but it had been and in my conversations with her something that was always behind the scenes, not something that was full forced ahead forcing every member of the committee, not just those that were singularly focused on the continent. Make it full hearings. Let’s have this dialogue and conversation about the continent. Let’s talk about what’s going on. And let’s leave nothing off the table. Let’s talk about human rights. Let’s talk about democracy and free and free and fair elections. Let’s meet and have conversations with the heads of States. Let’s not pretend that they don’t exist. Let’s talk about the also the economics that are taking place in the country. Let’s talk about not just the bad things. Let’s talk about the positive things because there’s many positive things going on and show the example of the positives. Even when we’re trying to promote someplace else where there may not be the democracy that we want to say this is where you should be aiming to go and you get the assistance from us. And so if in fact you are quiet, if in fact it’s not on the front burner then people think that democracy is not important or what they really think when I talked to some of the heads of States that we don’t care that were not there and they see other people showing up, other people showing up but we’re not there at all. That is what has to change. That is what I believe. That is my part of my responsibility to be quite honest with you to do as chair of this committee and to have the United States Congress moving forward in that direction. And that’s why I do appreciate the fact that President Biden is having the Africa summit in early or December in regard and bringing in many of the heads of States to d to D. C. To meet with him. I think that can help us make a difference and promote democracy and equality and economics on the continent. Sure, I’ll say briefly that one of the elements that um I’m focused on in the promotion of human rights for people of African descent is political rights and I was talking to my students this morning in our class on human rights about the I. C. C. P. R. And the need to engage in data collection so that we are aware of what is happening throughout the diaspora and ultimately so that we can make appropriate recommendations. So thanks for making me aware of that situation. It’s certainly something that we will continue to explore. One of the things I’m very proud of at Howard is that we have a class of students who will be working with me on issues impacting the permanent forum and collecting data and drafting reports and even advocating for human rights issues for populations all across the continent, all across the world. So um please continue to be in touch with me about that issue. I’d love to hear more about it and continue to gather data so we can make appropriate recommendations. Thank you, Professor and special representative. Okay, thank you. Um I will ask the journalist in the room if there’s any questions otherwise, we will go to the doctor bald from Guinea news Doctor I think you’re still muted. Okay, Can you hear me?

Thank you. Doris Ambassador John Howard Morro Senor was named by President Eisenhower to newly independent Guinea in 1959. Guinea is the country where I’m from And uh Ambassador john how our moral senior was among the first African Americans named as top diplomat back in these years after leaving Guinea, he wrote a book, an interesting book. You can find everywhere by just googling it. The title is the first Ambassador to guinea. Uh My question now is what the State department is doing to keep alive uh the work, the mission of this diplomatic back uh when the segregation was at the center of everything in the United States. So what they are doing in order to give a motivation to young African Americans to get involved in for themselves. That’s my first question. And the other thing is a remark remark I’ve made and uh I’ve the remark is that African Americans, diplomats are mostly affected in Africa instead of other parts of the world. Is that due to the fact that uh black people are not welcome myself. I was a student in Europe and in some part of Europe back in the 80s and 90s. So I know that it doesn’t matter if you’re from the United States or Africa if you’re black, you’re not welcome in many parts of the walls. So is that that’s why the State Department is not sending uh diplo Africans African Americans, diplomats in those parts. Thank you, thank you so much for your questions. Um Let me briefly just address your second question um where I can unequivocally say that black diplomats are not exclusively sent to Africa because they are black. Um I will say from my personal experience, I joined the Foreign service to serve in Africa because as a black American, I felt a personal connection to the continent and I wanted to serve in Africa just as ambassador Linda, Thomas, Greenfield noted. So many of us do join the foreign service to go to Africa. So that may be a reason why there seems to be a disproportionate the high number of black Americans serving in Africa. But there is no absolutely no State Department foreign service policy that restricts uh black diplomats to only serve in Africa. Um on your first question about historical black uh figures in the foreign service. Again, this is outside of my purview, but I will say that our chief diversity and inclusion officer Gina Abercrombie Winstanley and her team have done a phenomenal job of making sure that we remember our history and re recount the past of the State Department and acknowledge the fact that it has not always been and was not built as an inclusive institution. Um so her team is doing the hard work of dismantling that those structures uh that have prevented people of color, LGBTQ plus people women persons with disabilities from um not only joining the State Department but from also rising in the ranks. So that is the work of her office. I’m happy to send you her website if you’d like to learn more. Thank you. Thank you. Special representative. We have time for one more question and we’ll take a question from Amadou Kane um from Senegal. Thank you so much. Uh I have one question for the ambassador Greenfield. So my question is about regarding the United Nations uh that the United States support will support any proposition from the African countries to get a seat a permanent seat on the under U. N. Secretary concept. I’m a do I’m afraid the ambassador had to leave. I will take the question and get back to you. So with that it doesn’t look like we have any more questions. I will invite special representative Comair smith and Professor Hansford to make any final remarks. Well, I would just like to thank you all for taking the time to talk to us today. As I said earlier, I’m very excited about what we’re planning to do with the permanent forum during my term. I have 2.5 years left and I plan to make use of every single day to the best of my ability. We have our opening meeting on December five through December nine Uh 2022. We have a second meeting that will be taking place in June of 2023. Both of those meetings will be public. I hope that you continue to cover those and continue to engage with us in a very robust way also, um I should say that all the members of the permanent forum are deeply committed to ensuring that there is as much grassroots participation as possible. So, so whoever is in the media, whoever is in the audience who is interested in working with the permanent form, whether that involves gathering data on human rights violations that are affecting black people throughout the world, whether that involves trying to get the U. N. To become more aggressive in its support for the human rights of people of African descent or whether it involves advocating for us to take on certain issues, please feel free to reach out to me either through Howard University or going online and looking up the website for the permanent forum because we really are trying to be as open and participatory as possible. So please keep in touch and please stay tuned in for more work ahead. Thanks. I can’t follow that. Thank you. Thank you so much to our distinguished briefers today for taking the time to brief us and thank you to all of the journalists for joining us today. We really appreciate that. We will post the transcript today at f p c dot state dot gov. And with that this concludes today’s briefing. Thank you all.

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