This week, the State Department released our first-ever , as outlined in President Biden’s historic on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. Issued on day one of the Biden-Harris Administration, this executive order directed federal agencies to take comprehensive action in policymaking and operations to address barriers to opportunity for underserved communities, who are historically and currently impacted by inequity and systemic discrimination.
Over the past year, the Department’s Agency Equity Team worked to conduct a baseline assessment, produce reports for the White House, and integrate the executive order’s principles into our strategies, resource requests, and foreign policy priorities. After a year of diligent efforts, we are proud to release our Equity Action Plan to the public.
Today, we released our first-ever Equity Action Plan, supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government equity agenda. Learn more about our efforts to advance equity and support underserved communities in our foreign affairs work: https://t.co/Ji9UVntPkv.
— Department of State (@StateDept) April 14, 2022
Our Equity Action Plan outlines actions, commitments, and accountability mechanisms to improve our effectiveness in successfully integrating equity across our foreign affairs work. The plan targets five priority areas:
- U.S. Foreign Policy. We will prioritize engagements with diplomatic partners and individuals from underrepresented and underserved communities worldwide to better assess and embed equity into U.S. foreign policies and reduce barriers to equity.
- U.S. Foreign Assistance. We will establish new reporting requirements and equity analysis tools to align the executive order’s priorities and operations through international aid. We will also work with stakeholders to inform data-driven operations and programming to integrate racial equity and support for underserved communities into U.S. foreign assistance.
- Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. We will embed the executive order’s principles into public diplomacy programming, exchanges, and communications strategies, and will use new equity assessment tools to track progress. This will come with an increase inclusive messaging to combat disinformation, which can sow discord among communities and undermine democratic norms.
- Consular Services. We will update the interpretation and application of the Immigration and Nationality Act to reflect advances in Assisted Reproductive Technology and offer U.S. citizenship products, such as passports, with inclusive gender markers.
- Procurement, Contracts, and Grants. We will require reviews under current federal contracting processes to provide more equitable access to underserved and small business partners.
I am confident in our team’s ability to implement our Equity Action Plan. Together, we will generate better-informed policies, programs, and processes to address barriers to equity worldwide and achieve our foreign policy goals.
.@StateDept is stepping up to advance racial equity and support underrepresented communities into our foreign affairs work. We will continue to raise the visibility of inequities and generate policies that decrease barriers to equity and equality globally. https://t.co/5CpCssLdwg
— Brian P. McKeon (@DepSecStateMR) April 14, 2022
For more details, please visit our new website dedicated to advancing equity in our efforts at home and abroad: www.state.gov/equity/.
Learn more about the Department’s Equity Action Plan here.
About the Author: Brian McKeon is the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources at the U.S. Department of State.