NAHJ D.C. meets with top Biden Administration officials

Members of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists participated Wednesday in a press briefing with several top Latinos in the Biden administration, including Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, White House Political Strategy and Outreach Director Emily Ruiz, and White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Director Julie Chávez Rodríguez.

The wide-ranging discussion included remarks on asylum, immigration reform, the environmental impact of the train derailment in Palestine, Ohio, and COVID-19. On the pandemic that has disproportionately affected the nation’s communities of color including Latinos, Secretary Becerra spoke on how the Biden administration will continue to ensure accessibility to tests, treatments, and vaccines after the COVID emergency declaration is lifted in May.

“There isn’t a human being in this country that has paid a penny for that vaccine,” said Becerra, adding that the Biden administration will work with community health clinics to provide services to the uninsured and low-income communities.

NAHJ President Yvette Cabrera said the gathering was a unique opportunity that she hopes will happen more often.

“I’m so pleased that our members had this opportunity to question the Biden Administration’s top Latino officials on a wide range of issues, ranging from COVID-19 misinformation to immigration reform,” said Cabrera, who was one of several NAHJ members who came from other cities to attend the meeting. “This accessibility is foundational to the work we do as journalists to hold our government accountable to the American public. As Latino journalists, we bring a unique perspective to our coverage and that was reflected in the questions we asked during this press briefing.”

This was the NAHJ’s first White House briefing in nearly nine years. “During the Trump Administration, I requested a briefing with top Latino officials at the White House,” said D.C. Chapter President Brandon Benavides, a former NAHJ National President. “Despite promises from the director of communications at the time, no briefing was held with NAHJ. I’m satisfied the Biden administration granted our request and went above and beyond what we asked for,” Benavides said.

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