National Council of La Raza

Raul Yzaguirre, President

National Office
1111 19th Street, N.W., Suite 1000
Washington, DC  20036
Phone: 202.785.1670
Fax: 202.776.1792
April 28, 2004

Sen. John Kerry
John Kerry for President, Inc.
901 15th Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC  20005

Dear Senator Kerry:

I write on behalf of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) regarding the remarkable and unacceptable absence of Latinos in your campaign.  In your speech at our Annual Conference last July you made a number of statements indicating your strong commitment to the importance of diversity.  Based on these statements, and the various other highly-positive interactions we have had throughout your career, one might have expected that your campaign would fully reflect the nation's diversity.

In an April 16 news release, you announced the appointment of 28 "senior staff" appointments to your campaign team.  Although we respect the abilities of the highly-capable staff who supported you successful primary effort, as well as your recent staff additions, not a singe one of your senior staff is Latino.  Quite frankly we find this deeply troubling and raise questions about the seriousness of your commitment to diversity.

In a subsequent news release on April 22, you identified members of your community outreach team, many of whom, not surprisingly, are Latino.  I must say that relegating all of your minority staff to the important but limited role of outreach only reinforces perceptions that your campaign vies Hispanics as a voting constituency to be mobilized, but not as experts to be consulted in shaping policy.

History has shown that the makeup of a campaign staff is a strong indicator of the future composition of White House and other staff in an Administration.  In this context the absence of diversity at the senior levels of your campaign is disturbing.  For these reasons, we call upon you to take immediate steps to diversify the top echelon of your campaign and, in particular, the members of your "inner circle."


Raul Yzaguirre

Program Offices: Phoenix, Arizona  -  Los Angeles, California  -  Sacramento, California
Chicago, Illinois  -  San Juan, Puerto Rico  -  San Antonio, Texas  -  Atlanta, Georgia