Inequity is a national security challenge with global consequences. The systematic exclusion of individuals from historically marginalized and vulnerable groups from full participation in economic, social, and civic life impedes equity globally, while fueling corruption, economic migration, distrust, and authoritarianism. That is why the Administration pledged to “defend and protect human rights and address discrimination, inequity, and marginalization in all its forms” in its interim national security strategy. It is also why President Biden on his first day in office directed his Administration to take comprehensive action to address barriers to opportunity for underserved communities with Executive Order (E.O.) 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. This E.O. mandated every federal agency produce an Equity Action Plan outlining its implementation efforts.
Over the past year, Deputy Secretary of State Brian P. McKeon has led the Department’s implementation of the E.O., and today, the White House released our Equity Action Plan to implement the E.O. In the coming months, we will also establish a Special Representative for Racial Equity and Justice to continue operationalizing this E.O. across our foreign affairs work.
We know that embedding equity across our foreign affairs work will raise the visibility of racial and other inequities globally and generate better-informed foreign policies to decrease barriers to equity and equality worldwide. This Equity Action Plan identifies ways to successfully integrate the E.O. into our externally-facing efforts, such as diplomatic engagements, high-level dialogues, multilateral efforts, foreign assistance, public diplomacy and exchanges, procurement and contracts, and more.
The Department is committed to the principle of equity across all of our programs and policies, and the plan released today will serve as our blueprint for achieving that goal.