Blinken Fills Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Role after 10-Month Gap at One America News Network

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 21: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses the opening session on the first day of the Ukraine Recovery Conference at InterContinental London O2 on June 21, 2023 in London, England. The UK and Ukraine jointly host the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023 and will focus on mobilising international support for Ukraine's economic and social stabilisation and recovery from the effects of Russia's illegal war. (Photo by Henry Nicholls - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Henry Nicholls – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
2:40 PM -Tuesday, April 2, 2024

The State Department has officially filled the chief diversity and inclusion officer position after 10 months of the position being vacant.


Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Tuesday, Zakiya Carr Johnson, who previously worked at the State Department from 2010 to 2017, had been chosen to lead the State Department’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion in an effort to “advance our deep commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in the Department.”

Tasked with constructing “a workforce that reflects America,” Johnson will replace Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, who previously served as the State Department’s chief diversity and inclusion officer from April 2021 to June 2023.

“Over the past three years, the Department of State has made significant progress on this front but there remains work to be done,” Blinken said. “We will continue to pursue this mission aggressively, because recruiting, nurturing, and promoting the most capable workforce possible is critical to our national security.”

Blinken spoke very highly of Johnson, saying her “previous work promoting entrepreneurship and access to opportunity for underrepresented populations, as well as her commitment to inclusive leadership make us stronger, smarter, and more innovative.”

“All of us at the Department must work to advance DEIA if we are to create the inclusive workplace environment we need to continue to attract and retain the nation’s top talent. When the people making decisions on behalf of the American people don’t reflect the full diversity of our nation, we all lose, and our national security is weaker,” Blinken added in the announcement.

The latest appointment comes after Blinken created the chief diversity and inclusion officer position was created in 2021. Blinken stated during the approval of the new position that it will “hold senior leadership accountable” for implementing new diversity and inclusion programs and report directly to him.

Ever since Biden took over the White House, his administration has put diversity, equity, and inclusion at the top of the priority list for America.

Additionally, Blinken sent a memo to State Department employees to not use gender-specific language.

“When speaking, avoid using phrases like “brave men and women on the front lines,” said Blinken’s February 5th memo, which was first obtained by the National Review. Instead, State Department staffers were urged to “use more specific language such as ‘brave first responders,’ ‘brave soldiers,’ or ‘brave DS agents.’”

The newly added DEI guidance runs through a list of certain gendered phrases and words that should be avoided, including: “you guys,” “ladies and gentlemen,” “mother/father,” “son/daughter” and “husband/wife.”

Meanwhile, the State Department is assigned to advise the president on foreign policy, as well as negotiating agreements with other countries. The memo was released as the U.S. is dealing with two wars between Israel and Hamas, as well as Ukraine and Russia.

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