Eighteen Black organizations, including leading civil rights groups and social justice organizations, have sent an open letter to members of Congress on Monday expressing support for Lloyd Austin as President-elect Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Defense.
In an interview with The Grio, NAACP President Derrick Johnson said the organizations that signed the letter “wanted to make sure that [Secretary-designate] Austin’s consideration for the post isn’t sidelined because of the waiver.”
“Our national security is too important to politicize, and the men and women of the armed services deserve someone of Gen. Austin’s character to lead in this moment. He is more than qualified to serve in this capacity,” Johnson added.
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The letter, which calls on members of Congress to support Secretary-designate Austin’s swift confirmation, was sent on December 16 and signed by the leaders of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated; Black Economic Alliance; Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Incorporated; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated; International Grand Basileus Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.; Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Incorporated; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated; Kappa Epsilon Psi Military Sorority, Incorporated; NAACP; National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB); National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; National Congress of Negro Women; National Urban League; NID Housing Counseling Agency; Swing Phi Swing Social Fellowship, Incorporated; The Links, Incorporated; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.
“The historic nature of this choice cannot be understated,” the letter reads. “As the first African-American in this role, Secretary-designate Austin’s leadership sends a message both at home and around the world, and to our allies and adversaries, that America’s ideals are strong. To the men and women of our armed forces, this nomination sends a message that their service, courage, and sacrifice is valued by their country, regardless of race or national heritage.”
“We urge you to support Secretary-designate Austin’s swift confirmation and grant the waiver that will make his continued service as a civilian to our country possible,” the letter says.