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Northam introduces first-ever statewide plan for advancing diversity, inclusion

Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled the commonwealth's ONE Virginia plan on Friday.
Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled the commonwealth's ONE Virginia plan on Friday.(ONE Virginia)
Updated: Feb. 27, 2021 at 5:38 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam on Friday unveiled a plan to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in Virginia’s state government.

The ONE Virginia plan, which will support more than 100 state agencies in prioritizing fair and equitable services, is the first of its kind in the country.

“The ONE Virginia Plan is a strategic blueprint to institutionalize equity across state government and effectively address deeply-rooted structural and systemic barriers to access and opportunity,” Northam said in a release. “This roadmap will ensure our efforts are accompanied by accountability, measurable results, and sustained impact.”

Virginia’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, along with Chief Diversity Officer Janice Underwood, worked with public and private entities to develop the plan.

The plan’s framework includes:

  • Ensuring those in leadership understand systemic inequity and its effects,
  • Working to increase diversity at all levels of government,
  • Fostering an inclusive and welcoming organizational culture,
  • Establishing shared accountability for visible equity, and
  • Promoting community engagement.

“Using the Inclusive Excellence framework, ONE Virginia will help implement tangible reforms that interrupt long-held systems of structural inequity to create sustainable change, innovation, and productivity across state government, throughout Virginia, and around our country,” Underwood stated in a release.

The plan is being codified by the General Assembly through previously-passed legislation. House Bill 1993 — sponsored by Delegates Alex Askew, D-Virginia Beach, and Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond — requires state agencies to establish and maintain diversity, equity and inclusion plans in coordination with the Governor’s Chief Diversity Officer.

For more information on the ONE Virginia plan, including online toolkits for implementing the framework, visit this link.

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