Announcing UNA-USA’s Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEA&I) Task Force
Dear UNA-USA Members and Advocates,
As UNA-USA members, the fight to protect universal human rights, equity, freedom, and justice for all people is deeply enshrined in our identity. Our history of tireless grassroots advocacy to protect the world’s most vulnerable people began more than seven decades ago. UNA-USA members are dedicated stewards of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a cornerstone document aimed to secure and advance the fundamental rights of all people, everywhere.
In 2020, George Floyd’s tragic death and the killing of many other people of color brought our nation to a pause and forced us to face the realities of systemic racism and racial injustice that have persisted for generations. This moment also became a reflection point for UNA-USA to realize that despite our long, productive history of human rights advocacy, we must strengthen our core values to be better advocates for all people. Even amid the pandemic, we found ways to take immediate action.
We issued a statement directly condemning racism in America. We developed a Racial Justice Resource Guide to help members fulfill their commitments to combat systemic racism. We hosted a virtual townhall that brought together various voices who shared their experiences around racial injustice. We supported legislation calling for the formation of a U.S. Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation. Furthermore, there were many efforts carried out by UNA-USA chapters and individual members within their communities.
But these efforts are not enough. As human rights advocates, we need to take our work further.
This year, we are pleased to announce the formation of the UNA-USA Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEA&I) Task Force, which is comprised of UNA-USA staff and UNA-USA National Council members. Our purpose is clear:
The UNA-USA Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEA&I) Strategy seeks to strengthen our diversity and to ensure DEA&I across leadership, programs, community and college chapters, partnerships, and to build a culture of equity and inclusion in all that we do.
UNA-USA Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion Statement:
As advocates of the United Nations and stewards of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UNA-USA affirms its commitment to build a culture to engage and support all members and stakeholders regardless of race, creed, color, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, religion, marital status, political opinion, national origin, socio-economic status, or any other protected characteristics. Our goal is to ensure an organizational environment where members and stakeholders feel valued and empowered to support the principles and work of the United Nations, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The DEA&I Task Force will provide thoughtful structure and formality to these commitments so that UNA-USA can consistently advance its role in ensuring a safe, just, equitable life for all people. In June, we will launch a DEA&I survey to better understand your viewpoint on UNA-USA’s support of DEA&I and obtain input on how we may improve DEA&I within our membership, programs, and outreach. Following the survey, we will organize focus groups to foster in-depth discussions around these topics.
We will also provide additional support and guidance to UNA-USA chapters to ensure the DEA&I strategy is implemented at the local level. Further, we will provide DEA&I programming aimed to empower UNA-USA members to make change within their communities and become stronger advocates for racial equity at every level.
Implementing our DEA&I strategy will not happen overnight, but we have developed a roadmap, and we are committed to using our organization’s platform and legacy to actively oppose injustice whenever we see it, whether it’s happening here in the U.S. or somewhere else in the world. Our movement is built on the experiences of UNA-USA members like you, and our mission is guided by your actions. To achieve our goals, meet our commitments, and ensure lasting change, we need you with us.
On behalf of UNA-USA’s DEA&I Task Force, National Council, national leadership and staff, thank you for making the choice to align yourself with a movement that places universal human rights at the forefront of international priority. Thank you for rolling up your sleeves and taking ownership of local action to ignite global change. Thank you for putting your voice behind this work.
The launch of our DEA&I strategy is just the beginning, and we are honored to have you with us as we cover new ground in our continued fight for human rights.
Rachel Bowen Pittman, Executive Director, UNA-USA
Paula Boland, National Council Chair, UNA-USA