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ICYMI: Civil Rights Leaders Urge Biden Administration to Select Prince George's County for New, Consolidated FBI Headquarters

Government and Politics

November 28, 2022


Wanted to make sure you saw this letter released last week by National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial, Greater Washington Urban League President and CEO George H. Lambert, Jr., National Action Network Founder and President Rev. Al Sharpton, and Nia 2X, President of the National Action Network Greater Washington, D.C., Chapter, urging the Biden Administration and GSA to select Prince George's County as the home to the new, consolidated FBI Headquarters.

“Prince George’s County is home to the largest suburban majority Black population in the region and one of the largest in the nation,” the leaders wrote. “Though there is a talented and educated workforce in the county, this community has historically been left out of federal office space allocations and other investments from the Federal Government. Such disparities in the county contribute to a median income that is 18% lower than the median income of the region as a whole and 48% lower than the median income of Fairfax County.”

“Prince George’s County has 48% of federal warehouse space and 20% of the region’s federal workforce, yet only 4% of the region’s federal office spaces are housed in the county,” the leaders continued. “A federal investment in this county the size and significance of the new FBI headquarters would begin to address the low rate of federal office space and bring economic growth and development to this community that has been historically underserved.”

To read the full letter below:

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Robin Carnahan
Administrator of General Services
United States General Services Administration
1800 F Street NW Washington, DC 20405

Dear Mr. President and Administrator Carnahan: On behalf of the National Urban League, National Action Network, the Greater Washington Urban League, and the National Action Network’s Greater Washington, DC Chapter, organizations with a demonstrated history of advocating for policies that promote equitable access to adequate economic opportunity for African Americans and other historically underserved communities, we write to strongly encourage the Biden-Harris Administration (Administration) to select a Prince George’s County site – Greenbelt, MD or Landover, MD – to house the new consolidated Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters. The selection of a Prince George’s County site is consistent with the Fiscal Year 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act and the Administration’s commitment to equity and empowerment initiatives.

Prince George’s County is home to the largest suburban majority Black population in the region and one of the largest in the nation. Though there is a talented and educated workforce in the county, this community has historically been left out of federal office space allocations and other investments from the Federal Government. Such disparities in the county contribute to a median income that is 18% lower than the median income of the region as a whole and 48% lower than the median income of Fairfax County.

In January 2021, the Biden Administration solidified its commitment to racial equity when it announced the “Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government” (Executive Order).1 The language in the Executive Order acknowledges the “unbearable human costs” of the entrenched racial disparities in our laws and policies and affirmatively commits the Federal Government to a comprehensive approach in advancing equity for all. Selecting a Prince George’s County site to house the consolidated FBI headquarters would help effectuate the Administration’s written commitment to racial equity.

Section 6 of the Executive Order – titled, “Allocating Federal Resources to Advance Fairness and Opportunity” – is especially relevant here. Section 6 reads in part, “The Federal Government should … allocate resources to address the historic failure to invest sufficiently, justly, and equally in underserved communities.” 2 Prince George’s County has 48% of federal warehouse space and 20% of the region’s federal workforce, yet only 4% of the region’s federal office spaces are housed in the county. A federal investment in this county the size and significance of the new FBI headquarters would begin to address the low rate of federal office space and bring economic growth and development to this community that has been historically underserved. This selection therefore squarely aligns with the Federal Government’s stated commitment in Section 6 of the Executive Order.

The Federal Government’s commitment to racial equity is also highlighted in one of the five criteria for selecting the location of the new consolidated FBI headquarters. Part of Criteria #4, as outlined by the General Services Administration (GSA), is to advance “racial equity and support for underserved communities through the Federal Government.” The Administration has therefore given two clear indications that holistic pursuit of an equity agenda is a priority for the Federal Government.

We implore the Administration to select Greenbelt, MD or Landover, MD as the home of the new consolidated FBI headquarters. Doing so would represent an important step toward addressing the historic failure to invest equitably in Prince George’s County. It is similarly an important step toward making real the Administration’s commitment to racial equity.

Sincerely,