As we prepare to celebrate the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, I want to thank all of you who continue to be committed to reaching new and diverse audiences, recruiting diverse faculty and staff, and growing our own understanding and efforts in diversity and inclusion.
I am committed to ensuring that Extension's diversity and inclusion efforts are closely tied to our program areas, based on our strengths and connected to research. This will help to ensure that our investments in diversity and inclusion initiatives and programs are successful and sustainable.
There are several efforts underway, including: a professional development series on civil rights and reaching key audiences from diverse communities; partnering with the Office of Equity and Diversity to develop online versions of their face-to-face workshops; and sessions at Extension staff and program conferences. In addition, we have launched an internal effort to ensure program teams have current demographic information related to key audiences from diverse communities. This effort began in early 2014 in the Southeast region, with a different region becoming involved each year thereafter.
We have an opportunity and a responsibility to create an environment that supports diversity and eliminates discrimination. While we maintain our individual cultural values, we also appreciate and learn from the diverse cultures that make up our communities.
On this Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, I invite all of us to reflect and renew our collective effort to address issues related to equity and diversity.