Department of Justice

California DOJ launches diversity program

SACRAMENTO, Calif.  — A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council has been launched within the California Justice Department, state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Thursday. The newly-formed council will be a “centralized cross-level, cross-functional, and active body responsible for coordinating and implementing DOJ’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals,” according to the DOJ.

“California is one of the most diverse states in the country,” Bonta said. “And it’s critical that we work to ensure our institutions reflect that reality. The launch of this new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council is about helping fully realize that goal at the California Department of Justice. We recognize that our strength is our people — and the stronger we are, the better we can serve. To all those who want to help make California fairer and more just: come join us. We’re always looking for the best talent to help us defend the people, values, and resources of California.”

The council will assist the Justice Department in enacting strategies with the goal of creating a more inclusive work environment. The council will recognize the “differences, talents, and abilities” of each employee, and will work to create a workplace culture with equal opportunities to excel, according to the DOJ.

“As an example, one challenge is that minority communities remain underrepresented among licensed attorneys in the state. As a state entity, DOJ is committed to ensuring its workforce reflects the diversity of California,” a statement read. “Improving recruitment and hiring efforts as well as helping build up the quality and diversity of candidate pools is a top priority.” The department stressed that, though they are committed to diversity, DOJ employees will be judged on their merit and job skill.

Members of the council, which will include representatives from each DOJ division and members of various employee organizations including the Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, and LGBTQ+ Employee Advisory Committees, will meet monthly and are given full authority to create task forces or subcommittees as needed.

The council’s top goals, as outlined by the DOJ, will be to “help [the] DOJ continue to evolve its organizational culture” through the expansion of mentoring programs, enhance hiring and recruitment processes through increased outreach, and work to reduce potential bias in the workplace.

“For more than 150 years, the Office of the Attorney General has served as the people’s lawyer and a leader in law enforcement and crime prevention,” a statement said. “DOJ employees are committed to meeting the highest professional standards — in service of the people of California.”

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822