The President's Corner
Our country is at a crossroads, one that particularly affects EEO, AA, Diversity and Inclusion professionals, and the people whose lives depend on our work. We have witnessed a proliferation of threats to students of color, religious minorities, individuals with disabilities, the LGBT community and women on our campuses and in our workplaces. Sadly, public expressions of bigotry--racism, Islamophobia, and misogyny—appear to have increased at alarming rates and expressions of both conscious and unconscious bias have reached levels unseen since the 1960s.
As we face this crossroads, we don’t know if affirmative action, diversity and inclusion, and related civil rights laws, regulations and government policies, will be selected for weakening or elimination. What we do know is that we, as an association of dedicated professionals, will continue to promote access, equity and diversity in our workplaces and schools.
On “Giving Tuesday” your support is needed now, more than ever. We must mount an even greater effort to monitor what happens within our States, in the Congress, and in the federal agencies. We must increase our communications to you and to your colleagues, keeping you informed of current events. Lastly, we must call on you to speak up, where necessary, in hopes of maintaining robust EEO, AA and diversity laws and policies.
These additional and essential responsibilities for AAAED, and our members, will demand more resources and support. Therefore, if you are not currently a member of AAAED, now is the time to join. If you are already a member, we ask that you recruit a friend or colleague to join us. It is critical; it is necessary. Can we count on you?
AAAED, founded in 1974 as the American Association for Affirmative Action, is the longest-serving association of equal opportunity, affirmative action and diversity professionals in the country. We have survived for forty-two years – during administrations that supported our programs and some that did not. In the 1980s, you may recall the organized efforts to eliminate Executive Order 11246, which would have ended affirmative action for federal contractors. In the end, it took the concerted efforts of the civil rights community, members of both parties in Congress, our nation’s largest employers and strong advocacy by our military leadership to convince the president not to re-write Executive Order 11246 into oblivion. We won that battle and we are confident that we will win again – with your help.
We must be unified. And we are determined to shout loudly and clearly that injustice will not stand and that access, equity and diversity must continue to be firmly rooted in this nation’s laws and policies. We may be facing our greatest challenge to date, ironically, in the face of this nation’s growing diversity. We need to be prepared to respond — and quickly — to each challenge that is presented to the ideal of equal opportunity for all.
The time is now. Please join AAAED, or renew your membership, by going to our website at http://www.aaaed.org/aaaed/Join_Us.asp. Don’t forget to invite your friends and colleagues. We welcome you to our ranks of dedicated servants to the cause of access, equity and diversity.
Myron R. Anderson, Ph.D.