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The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 4, January 23, 2022, Article 17

NEW REPORT EXAMINES U.S. MINT RACIAL TENSIONS

The New York Times published an article about a new report on racial tensions at the U.S. Mint. This is not a new topic - see the earlier article linked below. -Editor

Philadelphia Mint coin bag The United States Mint celebrated a milestone this month when it announced the first shipment of a new batch of quarters bearing the image of the writer and poet Maya Angelou, the first Black woman to be depicted on the 25-cent coin.

The announcement came weeks after President Biden said he would nominate Ventris C. Gibson to lead the Mint, where, if confirmed, she would serve as its first Black director.

But beneath the public signs of social progress is an agency that has struggled for years with racial tension, with Black employees saying they feel threatened, marginalized and professionally disadvantaged. While instances of racism at the Mint have surfaced in previous years, a new internal report that was reviewed by The New York Times depicts an institution rife with tumult over allegations of racist behavior.

Participants in a survey conducted by the consulting firm, which included more than 200 staff members, senior managers and executives, said race was a divisive issue at the Mint. Many people at the agency expressed concerns that hiring and promotions for people of color were not handled fairly and said they feared reprisal for making formal complaints.

The firm, TI Verbatim Consulting, said in the report that its findings point to potential root causes for the racial divide at the Mint. The report cited outdated policies, cliques, ambiguous promotion practices and the perception of favoritism. Although some members of the Mint's work force described a positive environment, others said there had been a noticeable downward spiral in recent years amid growing racial tension and as acts of overt discrimination surfaced.

Ventris C. Gibson Before Mr. Biden announced her nomination to lead the Mint, Ms. Gibson was appointed in October as the agency's deputy director. At the time, Wally Adeyemo, the deputy Treasury secretary, hailed her selection as a sign of progress.

Her historic appointment reflects our ongoing commitment to building a qualified, diverse work force at Treasury and its bureaus that will serve the American people well, he said.

The Mint historically was a place that pioneered diversity but did not always prioritize healthy working conditions. In 1795, it became the first federal agency to employ women when it began hiring them to work in the so-called adjusting room, a poorly ventilated space where they would weigh and file down blank coins.

In recent years, bringing diversity to the imagery on America's coins has been a priority for the Mint. The bipartisan Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020, which President Donald J. Trump signed into law the week before he left office, initiated the addition of notable women, such as Ms. Angelou, on quarters through 2025.

The findings of the report have yet to be released publicly. They are expected to be shared more widely within the Mint's staff this month, Ms. Gibson said in her statement.

To read the complete articles, see:
Racial Turmoil Mars Signs of Progress at the U.S. Mint (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/21/us/politics/us-mint-racial-turmoil.html)
Black employees at U.S. Mint feel marginalized and threatened, report says (https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/21/black-employees-at-us-mint-feel-marginalized-and-threatened-report-says.html)

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
MINT EMPLOYEES ALLEGE RACIAL HARASSMENT (https://www.coinbooks.org/v23/esylum_v23n38a24.html)

NA Sale 66 cover front



Wayne Homren, Editor

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