Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Trump’s Executive Order which Limited Diversity Training Has Not Been Forgotten

When President Biden took office, he eliminated the Trump-era executive order banning “divisive concepts” in federally funded diversity training. Now Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country are seeking to implement their own bans against teaching concepts surrounding diversity and anti-racism, which is being defined as critical race theory. States are introducing bills modeled after Trump’s reversed Executive Order (EO) 13950 in which teaching that “one race or sex is inherently superior to one another,” and that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously” should not be conducted in schools and training in state and local government entities. Some of these bills are pending approval, while others are moving swiftly through the legislature. 

In Oklahoma and Idaho, bills banning colleges and universities from mandating diversity training and forbidding critical race theory from being taught in K-12 schools have been signed into law. Alongside, Arkansas passed SB 627,which prohibits agencies from teaching employees, contractors, or any other group, “divisive concepts” during racial and cultural sensitivity trainings. Other legislatures, like Iowa, Tennessee, Louisiana, and more recently, Texas, are aiming to pass similar bills. 

On May 12, 2021, a group of House Republicans took a step further to limit the conversation surrounding diversity by announcing a pair of federal bills, the Combatting Racist Training in the Military Act and the Stop CRT Act, to prohibit diversity training in the military and federal agencies. The trend for conservative leaders to criticize critical race theory came after Trump ordered the Office Management and Budget to stop funding diversity training in September of 2020 and in the wake of educators using the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2019 New York Times “1619 Project” to teach a more comprehensive history of inequality in the United States. 

When Executive Order (EO) 13950 came into effect, AAAED quickly called out its damaging effects to stall the nation’s movement towards diversity and inclusion and joined the lawsuit to fight against the order in National Urban League, et al. v. Trump. Although the order has since been rescinded, it’s left behind a blueprint for states to follow. Their rampant effort to reinforce the order is alarming as these conversations are expanding to a federal level. If more bills modeled after Trump’s order are introduced and passed, it will threaten all the progress the country has made towards advancing the conversation surrounding diversity and inclusion. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity Commends President Biden on Revoking EO 13950 and Advancing a Comprehensive Equity Agenda

Organization of Equal Opportunity Professionals Sought an End to This Unconstitutional Order on Race and Gender Stereotyping


Washington, DC, January 21, 2021 – The American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED), an association of equal opportunity, affirmative action and diversity professionals, commended the swift action taken by President Joe Biden on January 20th, the day of his inauguration, to revoke Executive Order 13950 (EO) on Combating Race and Gender Stereotyping. The revocation was part of Biden’s new Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”

Order 13950, signed by President Trump on September 22, 2020, required contractors, subcontractors, vendors, and, arguably, grantees to censor any use of language that falls within its highly vague definitions of “divisive concepts,” “race or sex stereotyping,” and “race or sex scapegoating.” AAAED issued a statement in opposition to EO 13950 on September 29, 2020 after the President's Order was issued. The Association wrote, "This Order flies in the face of the First Amendment and burdens Federal agencies with the role of a content review board." AAAED also joined the National Urban League and the National Fair Housing Alliance in contesting the constitutionality of the Trump order in federal court.

In meetings with the Biden Transition teams, AAAED called on the incoming Administration to immediately rescind the Order.

President Biden’s order not only revokes EO 13950, it mandates actions to actively promote diversity. In Section 1 of the Order, it reads: “Our country faces converging economic, health, and climate crises that have exposed and exacerbated inequities, while a historic movement for justice has highlighted the unbearable human costs of systemic racism.” The Order calls for a government-wide equity agenda to address the challenges that the nation faces. It further calls on federal agencies to identify and address the barriers to equal opportunity that their programs may present.

Dr. Richard Baker, president of AAAED, stated, "We applaud the Biden Administration for articulating unequivocally the need for our government to embrace its role in identifying the roadblocks to equity and inclusion, including systemic racism and the more subtle obstacles that have a disparate impact on disadvantaged minorities and other groups. We commend the President for seeking a holistic strategy to remove these barriers to equal opportunity in federal programs.”

"In our collective fight for equal justice and against systems of discrimination, we all must do what we can to make sure that we are able to learn and work in environments that are free from bigotry and bias," added Dr. Baker. "We look forward to working with President Biden, Vice President Harris and members of the administration to implement this important order,” he stated.

For a copy of AAAED's Statement on EO 13950, click here:


For more information about AAAED, go to: www.aaaed.org 

To join AAAED, click here:


Founded in 1974 as the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), AAAED is a national not-for-profit association of professionals working in the areas of equal opportunity, compliance and diversity. The longest-serving representative of individuals in the equal opportunity and diversity professions, AAAED has 46 years of leadership providing quality professional training to practitioners and promoting understanding and advocacy of affirmative action and other equal opportunity laws. Nearly one-half of its membership is composed of EEO professionals working for academic institutions.

1701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW • Suite 200 • Washington, DC 20006 • Phone: 866-562-2233 202-349-9855, • Fax: 202-355-1399 • execdir@aaaed.org • www.aaaed.org

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Organization of equal opportunity and diversity professionals supports legislation that promotes equal opportunity for all regardless of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.  

For Immediate Release: March 8, 2019
Contact: Shirley J. Wilcher
Washington, DC, May 8, 2019 - The American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED), an organization of equal opportunity, diversity and affirmative action professionals, has announced that it supports the passage of H.R. 5, the Equality Act.  This legislation prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and for other purposes.[1]
Founded in 1974 as the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), AAAED is a national not-for-profit association of professionals working in the areas of equal opportunity, compliance and diversity. The longest-serving organization of individuals in the equal opportunity and diversity professions, AAAED has 45 years of leadership providing quality professional training to practitioners and promoting understanding and advocacy of affirmative action and other equal opportunity laws.
The Equality Act protects Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) Americans from discrimination due to their sexual orientation and gender identity by amending current civil rights laws that protect against discrimination based on race, sex, religion, and national origin. Further, it strengthens protections for women, children, and families. The Equality Act would specifically add gender identity and sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
H.R. 5, Section 2 specifically recounts the discrimination that members of the LGBTQ community routinely face that others do not:
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people commonly experience discrimination in securing access to public accommodations—including restaurants, senior centers, stores, places of or establishments that provide entertainment, health care facilities, shelters, government offices, youth service providers including adoption and foster care providers, and transportation. Forms of discrimination include the exclusion and denial of entry, unequal or unfair treatment, harassment, and violence. This discrimination prevents the full participation of LGBT people in society and disrupts the free flow of commerce.
Shirley J. Wilcher, Executive Director of the Association, stated, “No person deserves to be discriminated against due to their sexual orientation or gender identity and AAED fully supports any law to ensure that this does not happen” . This law would protect Americans at work, in housing, education, credit, and in jury service.”  The law would also cover places of public accommodations such as retail stores or taxi services.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and several courts have determined that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected as a form of sex discrimination. The Equality Act would include the LGBTQ community in this protected class. Only 22 states have laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ status in employment, making this law critical to providing ample and equal opportunities to members of the LGBTQ community.[2] “Polling shows that an overwhelming amount of the public supports preventing discrimination against LGBTQ people in employment,” said Wilcher. [3]  “Further, over 160 major businesses in America have signed on in support of passing the Equality Act,” she added”.[4]
The House Committee on the Judiciary voted 22-10 in favor of the Equality Act on May 1, 2019.  

[2] “LGBTQ Americans Aren’t Fully Protected From Discrimination in 30 States,” (2018). Freedom For All Americans. Available At: https://www.freedomforallamericans.org/states/.
[3] Greenberg, D., Beyer, E., Najle, M., Bola, O, and Jones, R. (2019). Americans Show Broad Support for the LGBT Nondiscrimination Protections. PRRI. Public Religion Research Institute. Available At: https://www.prri.org/research/americans-support-protections-lgbt-people/.
[4] Peters, S, (2019). The Historic, Bipartisan Equality Act Reintroduced in Congress With Unprecedented Support. Human Rights Campaign. Available At: https://www.hrc.org/blog/bipartisan-equality-act-to-be-reintroduced-in-congress-unprecedented-suppor.

American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity Announces
The 2019 Honorees for its Annual Awards Ceremony
Icons of equal opportunity, affirmative action and diversity in higher education, disability rights, government and private industry are among the award recipients at the Association’s 45th National Conference and Annual Meeting in Indianapolis on June 12th

For Immediate Release: April 15, 2019
Contact:  Shirley J. Wilcher 240-893-9475 

Washington, DC, April 15, 2019 - The American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED), an organization of equal opportunity, diversity and affirmative action professionals, announced its ten award honorees for 2019.  The awards celebration will be held on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, during the AAAED’s 45th National Conference and Annual Meeting. Themed Moving Beyond Diversity Towards Equity and Inclusion, the meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis.  The Hyatt is located at One South Capitol Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204.  The awards program is open to the press.  “We are delighted to honor such outstanding icons of social justice, diversity and equal opportunity,” said Dr. Richard Anthony Baker, president of AAAED.

Drum Major for Justice Award
The Drum Major for Justice is the highest award the association confers. The Award is a special acknowledgement of the extraordinary contributions that an organization or individual, including a public servant or one who has held an elective office or appointment to public service, has made to the cause of access, equity and diversity. Previous recipients include Rev. Dr. CT Vivian (2018), Dr. Shirley A Jackson (2017) Rep. G. K. Butterfield (2016), and Representatives August F. Hawkins and Parren Mitchell (deceased) (2008).

The 2019 AAAED Drum Major for Justice Award Honoree is The Honorable Gregory W. Porter, State Representative, State of Indiana. Gregory W. Porter is a member of the 120th Indiana General Assembly. He is now serving his 13th term for the 96th House District in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is currently ranking minority member of the Indiana House Ways and Means Committee, and president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL).  Mr. Porter also holds the position of Sr. Vice President of External Affairs for the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County. As Sr. Vice-President of External Affairs, Porter advises the president on strategies from communicating to and involving the community at large within the corporation’s goals, facilitates relationships between the corporation and external stakeholders, and acts in the capacity of a community liaison.  Mr. Porter has received numerous awards not limited to but including the 2018 Dr. Mozel Sanders Drum Major for Political and Social Justice, NAACP 2015 Pathfinder Award, Martin Center Distinguished Sickle Cell Champion Award, Indianapolis Urban League – 2015 Servant Leadership Legacy Award, Prevent Child Abuse of Indiana Leadership Award, and the Indiana Early Care Education Legislative Award.  He also received the Black Caucus of State Legislators Award, plus an Eagle Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.

Arthur A. Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award
Named for the “Father of Affirmative Action,” former Assistant Secretary of Labor Arthur A. Fletcher, who established the Revised Philadelphia Plan requiring goals and timetables in the construction industry - the precursor for what became “Affirmative Action,” the Arthur A. Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a career devoted to promoting and advocating for affirmative action, EEO and diversity. 

The 2019 AAAED Arthur A. Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree is Marshall Rose, M.S.W.  Marshall Rose has been a member of the American Association for Affirmative Action, re-named the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity (AAAED), since the early 2000’s. He served as President of the association from 2014-2016, and previously, was a member of the AAAED board as Region V Director.  Marshall also served on the board of United for Equality and Affirmative Action Legal Defense Fund (UEAA-LDF).  Marshall Rose has been an untiring advocate of affirmative action and equal opportunity throughout his entire career. Marshall held senior responsibility for monitoring diversity and AA/EEO compliance at Bowling Green State University and Central Michigan University.  He retired from BGSU in January 2011. Marshall has done numerous presentations and speeches on diversity, affirmative action, EEO and associated topics. He has also done training for educational, nonprofit and private industry organizations. Marshall has received a number of honors in recognition of his community and professional contributions. They include: Volunteer of the Year from the Toledo Chapter of the Association of Fund Raising Professionals, Impact Newsmaker Award from the Northwest Ohio Black Media Association, 2010 Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth Humanitarian Award from the State-of-the-State Conference, and the 2012 President's Award from the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity.

Cesar Estrada Chavez Award
The award is named for Cesar Estrada Chavez, an American labor leader and civil rights activist who, along with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers union, UFW) in 1962.  The Cesar Estrada Chavez Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated leadership in support of workers' rights and humanitarian issues.

The 2019 AAAED Cesar Estrada Chavez Award Honoree is Dr. Tomás D. Morales, President, California State University, San Bernardino.  Dr. Tomás D. Morales was selected as the president of California State University, San Bernardino in May 2012. He is the university's fourth president since it opened in 1965.  His commitment to student success has led to various innovatory summer bridge and orientation programs for area students.  In addition, he has spearheaded the first truly bi-county initiative to address education and career preparedness beginning with K-12 through baccalaureate degree attainment. This effort resulted in a successful $5 million California Governor’s Innovation Award. Previously, Dr. Morales was president of the College of Staten Island, The City University of New York (CUNY), since 2007.

Rosa Parks Award
Named for the civil rights icon who refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus and sparked not only the Montgomery Bus Boycott but the ultimate end of racial segregation of public facilities, the Rosa Parks Award recognizes an individual who serves as a role model and leader for others through his or her personal achievements, excellence in a chosen field; commitment to human, civil rights and social issues and contributions to the betterment of society. 

The 2019 AAAED Rosa Parks Award Honoree is Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole.
Johnnetta Betsch Cole is a Principal Consultant with Cook Ross, Inc., a consulting firm located in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.  Before assuming her current position, she served for eight years as the Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.  When she retired from the museum on March 31, 2017, Dr. Cole was given the title of Director Emerita. After holding teaching and administrative positions at several colleges and universities, Dr. Cole served as the president of both historically Black colleges for women in the United States--Spelman and Bennett Colleges-- a distinction she alone holds.  She has authored or edited several books and numerous articles for scholarly and general audiences. Dr. Cole was the first African American to serve as the chair of the board of United Way of America.  She formerly served on several corporate boards.  She currently serves on the board of Martha’s Table in Washington, DC. From 2015 to 2016, Dr. Cole was the president of the Association of Art Museum Directors.  Dr. Cole has received numerous awards and is the recipient of 68 honorary degrees.

Edward M. Kennedy Community Service Award
Named for the former Senator from the State of Massachusetts who was a lifetime champion of civil rights, disability rights and other issues on behalf of disadvantaged persons, the award is presented to an individual or organization demonstrating outstanding community service.

The 2019 AAAED Edward M. Kennedy Community Service Award Honorees are:

Deb Dagit, President, Deb Dagit Diversity, LLC, Washington, NJ – National Award Honoree:  Deb Dagit started her own business in 2013 to deliver the consulting services and products she wished were available when she was a Chief Diversity Officer. She focuses on offering practical, just-in-time resources, tools and support for diversity practitioners.  As Merck’s CDO for 11 years, Deb was responsible for global equal opportunity, employee relations, recruiting and staffing, and diversity and inclusion. Under her leadership, the company was recognized for its exemplary work in diversity and inclusion by DiversityInc and Working Mother magazines, the Families and Work Institute, and the Human Rights Campaign. Merck also received the Department of Defense Freedom Award (veterans) and the Department of Labor New Freedom Award (people with disabilities) during her tenure.  She played a key role in the passage of the American with Disabilities Act through her lobbying efforts in both California and Washington, D.C.  She also testified in July 2011 before the U.S. Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions committee regarding best practices for improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

BOSMA Enterprises, Navigating Blindness, Indianapolis, IN – Local Award Honoree
With roots that reach back to 1915, Bosma Enterprises has decades of experience in helping Hoosiers with vision loss achieve independence. Bosma’s rehabilitation program helps nearly 800 people each year. “As we plan for the future, we’re looking forward to assisting even more of Indiana’s almost 160,000 people who are blind or visually impaired.”  Through its rehabilitation services and its job training and employment programs, Bosma teaches people experiencing vision loss how to successfully navigate their lives and jobs. In doing so, it is helping its clients grow their abilities and confidence — a journey that its trainers call “progressing from tears to cheers.

Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award
This award was named after the late R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr., known for developing and implementing innovative concepts and strategies for maximizing organizational and individual potential through Diversity Management.  The award is therefore given to an organization or corporation for outstanding achievements in promoting diversity in the workforce. 

The 2019 AAAED Honorees of the Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award are: Cummins Inc., Columbus, IN;
Cummins Inc., a global power leader, is a corporation of complementary business units that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. Cummins ranked 12th on the DiversityInc. List of the top 50 Companies for Diversity. This is out of 1800 companies that competed for the honor. Every company that participates receives a free report card, assessing its performance versus all competitors overall and in four key areas of diversity management:
           Talent Pipeline: workforce breakdown, recruitment, diameter of existing talent, structures
           Talent Development: employee resource groups, mentoring, philanthropy, movement, fairness
           Leadership Accountability: responsible for results, personal communications, and visibility
           Supplier Diversity: spend with companies owned by people from underrepresented groups,
accountability, support

Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN: Eli Lilly & Company ranked #6 on the DiversityInc list in 2018.  According to DiversityInc: “Eli Lilly moved up 10 spots last year and continues the strong momentum this year, moving into the Top 10.  The company has twice as many Blacks in the top two levels of management than the national average for U.S. companies.”  It also ranks highly on other DiversityInc specialty lists including: (No. 4) Employee Resource Groups; (No. 5) People with Disabilities and (No. 8) Supplier Diversity.

Emerging Leader Award
This award is given to an individual who is becoming a leader on the national stage and who has demonstrated excellence in his/her workplace and/or community.   This is the first year that the award will be conferred.

The 2019 AAAED Emerging Leader Award Honorees are:
Taylor Dumpson, candidate for Juris Doctor and Public Service Scholar -National Award Honoree:  Taylor Dumpson is a candidate for the Juris Doctor and is a Public Service Scholar.  In spring 2017, while pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society at American University in the Nation’s Capital, Ms. Dumpson became the first black woman to serve as president of the Student Government in the University’s 124-year history. In the wake of her ground-breaking election, she was the target of a racially-motivated hate crime on her first day in office, followed by cyber-harassment by members of white supremacist groups. Since then, and in an effort to raise awareness about the physical, emotional and mental health impacts of hate crimes, Ms. Dumpson has given a TEDx Talk, testified before Congress, and been featured in interviews with various print, television and radio broadcast media such as CNN, NBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, WTOP, and WAMU. Ms. Dumpson’s personal story is featured along with the narratives of other survivors of hate crimes in a newly released book, “American Hate: Survivors Speak Out,” edited by Arjun Singh Sethi. Ms. Dumpson is a 2018 recipient of the Lawyers’ Committee’s Frank R. Parker Client Award, for her “unwavering courage and commitment to standing up against racial and gender-based hatred and promoting diversity and inclusion for all.”

Karina Garduno, Indiana University Purdue University of Indiana – Local Award Honoree:  Karina Garduno joined the IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University of Indiana) Multicultural Center in June 2015. As the Assistant Director for Multicultural Programming, Karina works in several areas within the Multicultural Center including: multicultural programmatic efforts, developing retention efforts and outreach for diverse student populations, administration of the JAGversity Peer Educators program, accountability for affiliated student organizations, and support and advising in the MC. Karina also works with University College to promote the success of first-year students at IUPUI.

The AAAED 45th National Conference and Annual Meeting is open to the press. For more information or to register for the Conference, go to:  https://www.aaaed.org/aaaed/Conference_Agenda1.asp

Founded in 1974 as the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), AAAED is a national not-for-profit association of professionals working in the areas of equal opportunity, compliance and diversity. AAAED has 44 years of leadership in providing professional training to members, enabling them to be more successful and productive in their careers. It also promotes understanding and advocacy of affirmative action and other equal opportunity laws to enhance the tenets of access, inclusion and equality in employment, economic and educational opportunities. 
American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity
1701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 200 * Washington, D.C. 20006
202-349-9855 * 866-562-2233 * Fax: 202-355-1399 *

Thursday, August 2, 2018

New Documents Released As Part Of Discrimination Lawsuit Against Harvard

NPR. July 30, 20185:24 PM ET

A treasure trove of documents about Harvard University's admission process is revealing secrets about how America's oldest university selects its students. A federal court has unsealed hundreds of admissions applications and documents in recent weeks as part of a lawsuit alleging the university discriminates against Asian-American applicants. The court papers shed light on how the university considers an applicant's socioeconomic status, race or personality to give preference on who gets in. The lawsuit could have important implications for affirmative action.
And joining us now to discuss what we're learning from these new documents is Anemona Hartocollis from The New York Times. Welcome.
CHANG: So you've been poring through all of these documents produced by Harvard University about its admissions process. I'm curious. What struck you as particularly damning for the university's case? Was there anything?
HARTOCOLLIS: Yes. I and two of my colleagues have read hundreds of documents. And one of the things that has stood out for me is something that Harvard calls lopping, which according to the court papers takes place at the end of the admissions process when the admissions office looks at the racial balance of the class and adjusts it.
CHANG: So race is the determinative factor for who gets lopped from the list at the very end?
HARTOCOLLIS: Well, that's a good question. I think that that's what the plaintiffs want to find out.
CHANG: There was this other phrase that came up, and that was tipping or to tip. What does that mean?
HARTOCOLLIS: A tip, as I discovered through a document in the files - a Department of Education investigation in the late '80s - is a preference. And it is given to certain categories of applicants according to the plaintiffs. And those would include racial and ethnic minorities and kids whose parents graduated from Harvard and recruited athletes among others.
CHANG: Though at the end of the day, Harvard admits some around 2,000 students per year. And if you look at the academic records of the students applying, it's pretty overwhelming. There are way more than 2,000 applicants year after year who have perfect SAT scores and straight A's. So Harvard can't let them all in either. They - it does need to have other criteria to select students. I guess - does this fight come down to whether Harvard is using the correct criteria?
HARTOCOLLIS: I think it comes down to whether Harvard is misusing its criteria. I think Harvard probably has a large degree of discretion. The Supreme Court has ruled that universities have a large degree of discretion in deciding whom to admit but that they cannot treat different groups in a disparate way. And the charge here is that Asians are being treated differently because of their race from everybody else.
CHANG: And what is Harvard's best argument to that?
HARTOCOLLIS: First of all, Harvard strenuously denies any discrimination and says that its admissions system is a carefully calibrated way of curating an ideal class that will help shape the future of a pluralistic society in America.
CHANG: Anemona Hartocollis covers higher education for The New York Times. Thanks very much for joining us.
HARTOCOLLIS: You're welcome, Ailsa.
See also: "Top U.S. Universities Back Harvard in Affirmative-Action Case"