The US Office Of Diversity And Inclusion Is Shutting Down. Here’s Why

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The US House Office of Diversity and Inclusion will officially be dissolved as part of a recently passed government spending bill. 

The passage of the bipartisan $1.2 trillion government spending deal avoids a partial government shutdown and will fund the government for the next six months. However, funding on things like diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs was significantly cut back.

The office’s closure will be effective as of Monday, March 25. The move comes as DEI programs and initiatives across the country are facing increasing attacks from critics and Republican lawmakers. The office will reportedly be replaced by the Office of Talent Management under the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer.

The director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusions, Dr. Sesha Joi Moon expressed her disappointment at the news in a LinkedIn post shared on Monday. “I’ve been asked if I’m mad about what happened to the U.S. House Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the United States Congress and the answer is that I’m more so sad — the dissolution of the country’s top office to ensure a representative workforce in the world’s most deliberative body that legislates our lives is a sad day for America,” Moon said.

“Research shows that six out of 10 citizens agree that a representative society makes the United States of America a better place to live — and the overwhelming outrage and outpouring in response to the dissolution of my office has been both reaffirming and recommiting,” she added.

However, Moon also shared her gratitude for the “ support and solidarity” shown to her after the news was shared on Friday. “’On behalf of ODI, it has been an honor to help ensure that the United States Congress embodied a qualified and representative workforce that reflected the country’s vast tapestry,” Moon said as part of an official statement.

The decision to dissolve the office has been criticized by organizations such as the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which views it as a setback for diversity and inclusivity efforts in congressional offices.

“This decision jeopardizes the establishment of policies to support diverse communities and threatens the pursuit of inclusivity for all Americans. The dissolution of the ODI is not just a bureaucratic decision but a stark symbol of a regressive agenda undermining our call for more diversity and inclusiveness in congressional offices,” according to senior researcher, Dr. LaShonda Brenson, who leads the Joint Center’s Hill Diversity work. 

“We commend Dr. Sesha Joi Moon, ODI director, for her commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion within U.S. House offices. We also extend our gratitude to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for her role in establishing the ODI. By shuttering the ODI, which the Joint Center was instrumental in advocating for its creation, we are not just losing an office; we are losing ground in our collective pursuit of a truly representative democracy,” Brenson said. 

Moon plans to transition out of her role later this year, while some team members will stay on and work for the newly formed Office of Talent Management.

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