Pelosi Names Kemba Hendrix Director of House of Representatives Office of Diversity and Inclusion

March 10, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi today announced she will appoint Kemba Hendrix as the Director of the newly established House of Representatives Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  Hendrix, who currently is the Director of the House Democratic Diversity Initiative, has focused on increasing House Democratic workforce diversity and expanding opportunities for diverse candidates at all House staff levels.

“The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, an initiative included in the House Rules package passed at the outset of the 116th, will formulate a diversity plan for the House of Representatives, including policies to guide House offices in improving the recruitment, retention and development of a diverse workforce.  The Office will also act as a resource for House employing offices and increase awareness of diversity issues among Congressional staff.  The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is an independent and nonpartisan office.

“As Speaker, I am proud to appoint Kemba Hendrix to lead the House’s new Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which will accelerate Democrats’ work to ensure that that halls of Congress reflect the diversity and dynamism of the American people whom we are honored to represent,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “In her current position, Ms. Hendrix has made outstanding progress in ensuring that Congress, at every level, is more inclusive, diverse and open to all, and we are confident that her experience, expertise and thoughtful leadership will continue to be a force for positive change in this new, important role.  Democrats take great pride in the diversity and vibrancy of our Caucus and our staffs, and will never stop working to ensure that the full range of voices and values of our communities are heard and represented in the Congress.”

"Diversity is one of our nation’s greatest strengths.  Helping the House reflect the diversity of our nation is an important endeavor,” said Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren.  “The House of Representatives will be made stronger by the depth of experience and knowledge Kemba Hendrix brings to this new role.  I look forward to working with the new Office of Diversity and Inclusion, along with Speaker Pelosi and leaders in the House of Representatives to build the most productive tools to aid in this effort.”

“The Congressional Tri-Caucus is proud to support the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which will accelerate progress for inclusivity in a Congress that represents the full diversity of the American people more than ever before.  Kemba Hendrix exemplifies the leadership we need to meet the goals of Speaker Pelosi and our Democratic leadership as quickly as possible,” stated CHC Chairman Joaquin Castro, CAPAC Chairwoman Judy Chu and CBC Chairwoman Karen Bass, who collectively represent the Tri-Caucus.  “As Members of Congress, we must hold our own legislative branch accountable to the highest standards of diversity and inclusion.  That means ensuring not just that people of color, women and LGBTQ+ individuals are represented among congressional staff, but that they are also reflected at every level of leadership and decision-making in our work.  We look forward to working in partnership with Kemba to ensure the success of Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s mission.”

“I am honored to be appointed by Speaker Pelosi to lead the newly established House Office of Diversity and Inclusion,” Ms. Hendrix said.  “Under the Speaker’s leadership, the House has already taken large strides towards creating a more equitable and inclusive workforce.  I look forward to serving in this new role and working to provide Members, Committees and House Officers with additional resources to assist in their diversity staffing efforts.”

Hendrix holds a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University and Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law.  Prior to joining the House Democratic Diversity Initiative, Hendrix served as an advisor on Equal Employment Opportunity law, diversity and inclusion, and harassment for the Office of Personnel Management and as a legal advisor to the Chief Diversity Office and Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of State.

In July 2019 House of Representatives staff participated in the first-ever survey on compensation, benefits and demographics in accordance with the FY19 Legislative Branch Appropriations report and House Rules for the 116th Congress.  The findings outlined in the Diversity and Compensation Study will serve as key guideposts for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, as will guidance from the Caucuses that represent the scope and breadth of diversity throughout the House community.

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Praise for the Appointment of Kemba Hendrix and newly established Office of Diversity and Inclusion:

"Kemba Hendrix has real expertise and a genuine commitment to recruiting, hiring and retaining diverse congressional staff.  She’s continuously demonstrated good judgment and leadership, as shown by her work so far – including the U.S. House’s most comprehensive release of racial data among House staff,” said Joint Center President Spencer Overton.  “Ensuring that the House and Senate reflect the diversity of America should be a priority for all of us, and we look forward to working closely with Director Hendrix as she leads the House Diversity and Inclusion Office in support of that goal.”

“As an organization committed to full Latino civic participation, NALEO Educational Fund has been a strong voice in the call for increased diversity across the legislative branch,” said Arturo Vargas, Chief Executive Officer for National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund.  “The creation of the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion is an important step toward this goal and we applaud Speaker Pelosi for appointing Kemba Hendrix as Executive Director.”

“The mission of College to Congress is to create a more inclusive and effective Congress by empowering the next generation of public servants,” said Audrey Henson, Founder and CEO of College to Congress.  “Our shared mission with the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion is to ensure that our Democracy is truly reflective of the people that it serves.  This is why we look forward to working with Kemba Hendrix, the newly appointed Director of the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion, in a bipartisan manner to accomplish those goals.”

"Pay Our Interns is thrilled with Kemba Hendrix’s appointment as the inaugural Director for the U.S. House Diversity Office,” said Carlos Mark Vera, Executive Director of Pay Our Interns.  “Kemba has always been responsive, collaborative and effective in advocating for an inclusive workforce starting from interns to Chief of Staffs.  Ensuring Congressional staff reflect the diversity of our communities will be no easy feat, but we are more than confident Kemba has what it takes to get it done in a thoughtful and bipartisan way.”