As our nation continues to struggle with issues of racial inequality, we are called upon to think about our own roles in making improvements as an agency, both for our employees and our customers.
This summer, National Archives employees throughout the agency engaged in a dialogue on race and our roles in making improvements as an agency. To turn our conversations into action, I am creating the Archivist’s Task Force on Racism to address racial inequality in both our customer-facing operations and internally within our workplaces in pursuit of an equitable and inclusive environment for all employees and customers.
The Task Force on Racism will address the employee experience (issues such as recruitment, advancement, retention, assignment of work, and access to opportunities); diversity and inclusion (how we interact with each other and our customers); and race-based harassment and discrimination.
We have had several successful equal employment opportunity discussions on the topics of diversity and inclusion and microaggression. More than 500 NARA employees participated in these important discussions and spoke openly and honestly about difficult issues in the workplace. We will ensure that all NARA employees have the opportunity to contribute by providing ideas and input to this task force and their important work.
This is a very important task that we have ahead of us. Staff at the National Archives show a passion for change, a passion for treating people equally, and a passion for the agency taking some leadership in the federal government workforce, in terms of making it more attractive to work for the federal government.
We are looking to the task force to create actionable recommendations as a way to change the agency’s culture and environment, and get to the things we can do to make life better here at the National Archives.
We will continue to build upon these early steps with a shared commitment to make lasting and meaningful change. We have a long road ahead of us. These conversations and the changes to come will not be easy, but they are necessary. I look forward to the positive changes we will make together.