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Locals react to controversial memo regarding diversity hiring practices

Texas governor's office releases controversial memo regarding diversity hiring practices
dei memo.jpg
Posted at 6:28 PM, Feb 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-13 19:28:34-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A memo issued on February 4, by Governor Greg Abbott's Chief of Staff tells state agencies and public university, using Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policies in hiring violates federal and state laws.

The memo said in part:

In recent years, however, the innocuous-sounding notion of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) has been manipulated to push policies that expressly favor some demographic groups to the detriment of others. Indeed, rather than increasing diversity in the workplace, these DEI initiatives are having the opposite effect and are being advanced in ways that proactively encourage discrimination in the workplace.

Since the Texas Tribute obtained the report, word of the document circulated and triggered strong reactions. KRIS 6 News spoke with Coretta Graham, the President and CEO of the Corpus Christi Black Chamber of Commerce. Graham also practices law.

"Governor Abbott is completely wrong and I don't know why he's trying to play these games because we have affirmative action specifically in place to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion." she said. "50 years trying to undo years of systematic racism, you're going to sit here and tell a bold face lie that someone trying to be diverse and inclusive is wrong? Miss me with that."

Graham mentioned current anti-discrimination laws are meant to protect Americans by ensuring employers do not make hiring decisions based on race, religion, or gender. She added, DEI initiatives are meant to compliment those laws and encourage a wider range of applicants.

"You have to have policies in place to make sure everybody's getting into a leveled playing field. When you take policies away you go back to the era of Jim Crow." she added. Jim Crow laws were state and local laws introduced in the Southern United States in the late 19th and 20th centuries that enforced racial segregation. Such laws remained in force until the 1960s.

KRIS 6 News has requested for comment from the Governor's Office, city leaders, and county leaders regarding this matter. No responses have been provided.

The newly appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas was in Corpus Christi today and provided a comment about hiring procedures.

"The DOJ's a merit-based organization and one that is committed to the advancement of all kinds of people and I think what it does, is if you see the fact that I've become the United States Attorney, I think it tells you that the DOJ values somebody that has my background." said Alamdar Hamdani.

Hamdani is the first Asian American to serve as U.S. Attorney for that district. The Southern District of Texas includes Corpus Christi.

Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and Del Mar College responded with similar statements, saying the schools will follow all state and federal laws.