The President issued an Executive Order last week effectively extending the ban on diversity training for government agencies to include government contractors and grantees. The order bans the discussion of our history and prohibits access to anti-racism, anti-sexism, diversity, inclusion, and implicit bias training and requires federal agencies to include these stipulations in federal contracts.
This latest action by the Administration, coupled with the continued denial of justice to the number of people of color who have been and continue to be victimized, are solemn reminders that despite the advances made to identify and address the pernicious harms caused by structural racism and sexism, we have a long road ahead. At a time when structural racism and sexism are at the forefront of our national discussion, we must be unwavering in our resolve for change. CSH stands firm in our commitment to anti-racism and eradicating all forms of oppression and the belief that all are created as equals, sharing the same expectations of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
At CSH, we know well the harms of systemic oppression and how housing has and continues to be used to systematically exclude Black Americans and people of color from wealth-building opportunities and the enjoyment of economic prosperity. In fact, many of the disparate outcomes that have been magnified by COVID-19 can be directly linked to the anti-poor and racist housing policies dating to the 1930s. Federally-backed and supported policies such as redlining, racially-restrictive covenants, “block-busting” and their vestiges have disproportionately impacted communities of color and Black people in particular. We see this displayed in segregated neighborhoods, limited homeownership, food deserts, underfunded school districts, racial wealth gaps, disparate exposure to environmental toxins, and disparities in access to quality health care. The disparities created by these policies continue today, and it is not anti-American or malign to support training and education rooted in facts and history. Rather it is necessary to move forward as a people and nation. To deny the pervasive role of systemic racism and sexism in our nation’s history is more than just revisionist; it is definitively dangerous to us all.
Anti-racism and anti-bias training support leaders in understanding the critical intersections of race, homelessness, sexual orientation, gender identity, poverty, substandard housing, poor health, and other outcomes. Training on race equity, diversity, and inclusion is a bridge to awareness, understanding, and fairness. Organizations and communities learn how to use data as a means to drive equitable program outcomes, understand the value of diversity in the voices charged with decision making, and gain the expertise, skills, capacity, and resources to incorporate a racial equity lens in all of their areas of work.
For these reasons, CSH reaffirms our commitment to an honest appraisal of our history and our society and to invest in equity and inclusion initiatives to better serve our staff, our clients, and our communities so we can help build a better society where all people can thrive.