On September 22, 2020, our Nation took a giant step backward. Claiming that “Americans should be taught to take pride in our Great Country, and if you don’t, there’s nothing in it for you,” the President of the United States issued an Executive Order to ban training on implicit bias and most aspects of diversity for any company receiving federal grants or contracts. With one stroke of his executive pen, the President is attempting to erase decades of hard-won freedoms. In order to “form a more perfect union” for our future, we must engage in a critical assessment of the past.
This Executive Order requires that any company seeking to benefit from a government contract must pretend that systemic bias does not exist. To do so requires one to ignore America’s history -- of taking land from native peoples, enslaving African Americans, subjecting women to unequal treatment, permitting hate crimes against members of the LGBTQ community, enacting the Chinese Exclusion Act, forcing the internment of Japanese Americans, denying Jews entry to the US during WWII, and the daily indignities suffered by anyone who is not straight, white, privileged and male.
To ignore the cruel and unjust periods of American history denies us the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of those who fought against those injustices and triumphed. How can Americans celebrate the accomplishments of Thurgood Marshall, Harvey Milk, Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, Jackie Robinson, Megan Rapinoe, or Serena Williams without understanding the historical and systemic injustices they overcame? It is only by studying our past – the good and the bad – that we can identify our own biases and work together to create an equal and just society.
BuildOUT California calls upon all elected officials to take immediate and swift action to right the wrongs inflicted by this Executive Order. We urge all business owners to embrace diversity. And we ask all Americans to stand with us as we say: “Mr. President, we dissent.”
— BuildOUT California
BuildOUT California is the world's first LGBT industry association dedicated to the sustainable growth of LGBT-owned and certified businesses, and our allies, in the fields of architecture, engineering, construction services, real estate development and related industries.
Executive Order text: