As the home of this nation’s founding documents—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—we have a special responsibility to the ideals that all people are created equal, that all people have equal protection under the law, and that there is a common good that includes us all. Although we as a nation have fallen short at times, these are the goals we aspire to as Americans, for all Americans, and the ideals that drove the work of the Archivist’s Task Force on Racism.
I chartered the task force last summer, as our nation’s continued struggle with issues of racial violence and inequality caused us to reflect on our own roles in making improvements as an agency, both for our employees and our customers. Its charge was to identify 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, and based on those findings, prepare a set of actionable recommendations.
The 35 members of the Archivist’s Task Force on Racism, divided into three groups, identified issues of racial inequality in customer-facing and internal operations in pursuit of an equitable and inclusive environment for all employees and customers:
- The main Task Force addressed 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.
- The Subgroup on Archival Description examined matters relating to anachronistic or offensive terminology that have been used to describe our historical records.
- The Subgroup on Museums examined how we ensure a diversity of representation, viewpoints, access, and outreach in our exhibits, education, and public programs.
I am pleased to share the final report from the Task Force. The report addresses some of our agency’s programs, processes, and resources; identifies their shortcomings; and offers both short- and long-term recommendations. I have accepted those recommendations. You may find it difficult to read portions of this report. It includes frank and unblinking language about NARA’s agency culture and history, and I ask that you do not let that deter you.
I am immensely grateful to the members of the Agency’s Task Force and to every NARA employee who contributed to this effort, and I thank them for this service. Their recommendations have the potential to forever change our agency for the better.
NARA leadership and staff are dedicated to working for meaningful and long-lasting changes for our employees and for the communities we serve. We look forward to sharing our progress with you as it unfolds.
Read more on Archives.gov