Public Service Leadership Summit

The National Urban Fellows (NUF), held a Public Service Leadership Diversity Summit in Atlanta to inspire excellence and diversity in public service leadership with a dual emphasis on individuals and systems. Over 125 organizations (government, nonprofit) have partnered with the NUF to advance this movement. Some of the panelists included: Ambassador Andrew Young, Senator Jason Carter, Xernona Clayton, President & CEO Trumpet Awards Foundation, Jeff Johnson, MSNBC, Rosa Alicia Clemente, Community Organizer & Hip Hop Activist, John Esterle, Executive Director and board trustee of the Whitman Institute and Veronica Villalobos, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Our country is composed of one-third (34%) people of color – a population that will grow to 54% by 2042 based on the U.S. Census Bureau Report, August 2008. Moreover, only 18% of nonprofit leadership positions are filled by people of color, and only 17% of foundation executives are people of color. These alarming statistics is one of the main reasons why NUF is so vital.

Diversity is not the “code word” for affirmative action; diversity is a voluntary act of inclusion of differences; while affirmative action is a policy that was put in place to counter historical acts of discrimination based on race, color, gender or religion. Diversity in the public sector is more than giving a person of color or a woman a senior title; real diversity begins when executives, boards, and leaders start to include people from a plethora of backgrounds to aid in the decision making process of those in need. When the disparities in leadership are addressed, the public service sector will have greater ability and appeal to people of color with the leadership skills to solve our nation’s leading social policy dilemmas. When people of color and diverse experiences are infused into decision-making processes to ensure cultural competency and effectiveness in policymaking, that’s when true democracy will happen.

The NAACP is a proud supporter of the Public Service Leadership Diversity Initiative.