WASHINGTON, D.C. -- United States Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), joined by seven other Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee, today sent a letter pressing Attorney General William Barr for answers on the apparent rolling back of anti-bias and anti-discrimination training for Justice Department employees in the wake of a recent Trump Administration directive.
In a September 4 memorandum, Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought directed the heads of the federal government’s executive departments and agencies to stop funding racial sensitivity and anti-racism training sessions for federal government employees, calling such programs “divisive, anti-American propaganda” that “should have no place in the Federal government.”
According to a recent report by MarketWatch, the Administration’s directive has already led at least one Justice Department office to effectively cancel a previously scheduled unconscious bias training program pending further guidance.
In 2016, the Justice Department established an implicit bias training program for all of its law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and other personnel based on leading research and law enforcement best practices.
“The Administration’s new policy opposing racial sensitivity and anti-racism training for federal government employees has already led to the indefinite postponement of an unconscious bias training program in at least one division of the Justice Department,” Booker and his seven Judiciary Committee colleagues said in the letter to Attorney General Barr. “This development is all the more alarming as it comes while the nation is confronting a historic moment with racial justice and Americans are taking to the streets to protest systemic racism and demand policing reforms.”
Booker and his colleagues continued, “The Justice Department is charged with enforcing our nation’s laws dispassionately and protecting Americans’ civil rights. At this critical time when the country is grappling with racial justice and policing practices, providing robust anti-bias training programs to Justice Department personnel is as important as ever.”
This letter comes on the heels of Senator Booker’s letter last week calling on Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to hold an oversight hearing to examine the Trump Administration’s troubling effort to roll back anti-racial bias trainings for employees across the federal government.
The full letter can be viewed below and downloaded here.