U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters says MAGA Republicans continue to launch attacks against marginalized communities 

This week a handful of House Democrats held a discussion titled “Countering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Attacks by MAGA Republicans,” to protect marginalized communities from discriminatory practices.

On Tuesday, U.S. Reps. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.; Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio; Nikema Williams, D-Ga.; Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, and Emanuel Cleaver, D-Texas, held a roundtable discussion with civil rights experts Angela Rye, principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies; Laura Murphy, president of Laura Murphy & Associates, LLC.; Dariely Rodriguez, deputy chief counsel for Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Arian Simone, co-founder and CEO of the Fearless Fund to discuss the importance of having diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Rye told theGrio, “All of the programs that are designed to ensure our ultimate success and liberation are under attack. We have to fight back.”  

Waters told reporters that in recent months, Republicans have used the “legal system” to their advantage.

“Starting with the Supreme Court’s reversal of affirmative action,” Waters said.

In June 2023, the majority-conservative U.S. Supreme Court overturned the use of affirmation action in the college admissions process. 

Waters told reporters, “Affirmative action was a program that aimed to close the racial wealth gap…and give people access to spaces where they have been excluded from.”

Angela Rye, principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, was a panelist during the March 12, 2024, roundtable “Countering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Attacks by MAGA Republicans.”  (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Rye told theGrio that those who do not believe that DEI is under attack should “take a look at legacy admissions and see who benefits from it across the country” and who does not.

Also, during the roundtable chat, Waters highlighted the need for DEI programs to exist at Fortune 500 companies.

“DEI initiatives have been effective,” said Waters. “They give underserved communities a more level playing field to excel and accomplish professional and economic success.”

This roundtable comes nearly two weeks after the Congressional Black Caucus disclosed its “Day One” agenda if House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., were to become House Speaker in 2025.

CBC Chairman Steven Horsford, D-Nev., previously told theGrio, “There are forces working to take away the very tools of economic opportunity and freedoms that we have fought so hard to advance.”

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries,
U.S. House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) speaks during a press conference on Sept. 29, 2023, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

He believes one solution to combatting attacks against DEI is ensuring that Democrats have control of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Horsford said, “There is no one in the U.S. House of Representatives who has done more to advance the interest of Black America than the CBC” or other Democratic members.

If Democrats win back the House, the CBC plans to advocate for reproductive and voting rights, U.S. Supreme Court reform, combat efforts to defund Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and lower the cost of housing.

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A group of House Democrats recently held a discussion titled “Countering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Attacks by MAGA Republicans” to protect marginalized communities from discriminatory practices. The roundtable discussion featured U.S. Representatives Maxine Waters, Joyce Beatty, Nikema Williams, Sylvia Garcia, and Emanuel Cleaver, along with civil rights experts. They discussed the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, which have been under attack by Republicans who have utilized the legal system to their advantage. The discussion also highlighted the overturning of affirmative action by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2023. Waters emphasized the need for DEI initiatives at Fortune 500 companies to level the playing field for underserved communities. This roundtable comes in the wake of the Congressional Black Caucus’ unveiling of their “Day One” agenda, focusing on economic opportunity and freedoms for black Americans. The CBC believes that Democrats winning control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate is crucial to combatting attacks against DEI programs and advancing the interests of black Americans.

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