Over this past year, Cornell Cooperative Extension has acknowledged and denounced the systemic injustices of racism and inequality in America. Now we want to share our plans for how we aspire to address it as an organization and within ourselves.
Our mission states that we strive to use knowledge in pursuit of social well-being and to help communities thrive in our rapidly changing world. To do this effectively, we must better understand the needs, struggles, and hopes of the communities we serve. We recognize that we are not helpless in the fight for justice, but that we hold power and influence in our community. It is our responsibility to critically examine this influence to ensure it does not contribute to institutional racism.
As extension professionals, we must also examine our personal privilege and biases because no matter how well-intentioned, implicit bias is persistent and needs to be acknowledged in order to be overcome.
This is what we have been discussing at our staff and board meetings this year. We are having the hard conversations, the uncomfortable discussions about how we might be complicit. We are engaging with professionals within CCE and beyond to help us progress. We will revisit our Affirmative Action, Diversity and Inclusion Plan. We will build stronger ties to community organizations that represent people of color. We will expand our investment in diversity recruitment.
We will continue to share our plans and the resources we are using on our website. This is not something we will forget when the moment passes. We invite you to join our collective efforts as we seek to improve ourselves and our programs. Please reach out to us (email@example.com) with any ideas, concerns or experiences that might help us build a better organization and stronger NY communities.
Jim Seeley, Interim Executive Director
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County
The newly formed Adirondack Diversity Initiative, in partnership with the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) is the North Country's go-to resource for fighting racism in our region. Please visit their website for a compilation of excellent resources and check out their YouTube channel for several different "listen-in" and "teach-in" recorded sessions that target diversity issues specific to the North Country.
Remaining Whole, Human and Hopeful in a Time of Social Distancing: Conversations Around White Fragility and the Rules of Engagement.
*To view this PowerPoint, click the image or link above and then open the downloaded file.
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"Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) has a strong, ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in our work to serve an increasingly diverse New York State population. We affirm and remain committed to actively creating and sustaining a culture of belonging that embraces a diverse workforce, volunteer base and program audiences. We recognize that personal and collective action is required to move our vision of belonging from the aspirational to the everyday experience of all members of our community. In doing so, we tirelessly strive to foster an organizational climate of belonging where individuals from diverse backgrounds and life experiences can fully contribute and thrive. We firmly believe that an emphasis on belonging in CCE’s strategic planning will maximize our capacity to create and innovate as we best serve the emerging needs of communities throughout New York State." - Excerpt from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Director's Statement of Commitment to Diversity from the 2020 CCE Association Affirmative Action, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan
Last updated July 13, 2021