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Virginia unveils nation’s first statewide plan to advance diversity, equity and inclusion

The plan will help more than 100 state agencies in Virginia

ONE Virginia
ONE Virginia (Commonwealth of Virginia)

On Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced ONE Virginia, a plan that will help more than 100 state agencies in Virginia foster more racially inclusive work environments, provide fair services and be made aware of the effects of systemic racism.

“To truly move forward as a Commonwealth, we must prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion as our collective goals,” said Northam. “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. This roadmap will ensure our efforts are accompanied by accountability, measurable results, and sustained impact, and help make Virginia the best place to live, work, visit, and thrive.”

The General Assembly plans to codify the ONE Virginia plan through legislation that the Northam Administration supports.

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion are more than a moral imperative or a legal mandate—they are key to achieving organizational excellence,” said Dr. Janice Underwood, Virginia’s first-ever Chief Diversity Officer. “Together we are charting a new path for our Commonwealth, one that values our diverse people as our greatest strength. 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.”

Over the next few months, the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion will collect feedback from state employees, external stakeholders and community leaders to see what adjustments need to be made.

In ONE Virginia Plan’s next phase, its members will work with 10 state agencies that have supported the community during the COVID-19 pandemic and then create a diversity and inclusion plan modeled after the statewide framework.

About the Author:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.