Media Contact: Neil Simon
WASHINGTON - Governments at all levels need to improve outreach to minority communities to better represent the diversity of their people, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL)
said this week at the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues.
Congressman Hastings, Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), outlined several easy ways policy makers can more proactively involve minority citizens, including regular face-to-face meetings to bring them into the legislative process, advertising government job openings in minority communities, and expanding mentoring opportunities that give youth a positive experience with government. The full text of his remarks is available here
United Nations Independent Expert on Minority Issues Gay McDougall convened the forum in Geneva, Switzerland Nov. 12-13. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, chaired the forum. Congressman Hastings spoke at a session about concrete steps to advance minority political participation. He also reported on April’s Black European Summit in Belgium, a joint venture of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, and the Socialist Group of the European Parliament.
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.