“We do share the goals of expanding social inclusion and economic opportunity…while preserving and strengthening our heritage of pluralism, tolerance, and diversity.” – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
In January 2010, the United States and Colombia signed the U.S.-Colombia Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality. The Action Plan recognizes the important contributions of African–descendent and indigenous peoples and seeks to elevate recognition of their cultures in both countries.
The Action Plan focuses on sharing best practices and implementing programs to address social barriers that affect Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities. These barriers include lack of continuity, quality, access, and participation in education; low participation and representation in democratic institutions; limited opportunities in the labor market; structural racism; and multiple forms of discrimination. Priority areas for Action Plan programs include:
The Action Plan’s Steering Group held its first meeting June 2, 2010, in Bogotá. U.S. and Colombian government representatives evaluated current assistance programs in Colombia for Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities. The two governments agreed to establish working groups to discuss the make-up of the plenary group and an agenda for the first plenary session, to be held later this year.
The plenary group will incorporate representatives from both governments, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector to develop proposals for achieving the Action Plan’s objectives.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs launched its Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion Unit in July 2010 to coordinate the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Action Plan and similar initiatives in the region.
The U.S. Government has developed new educational and cultural programming to support the Action Plan. Programs will include: