On Oct. 21, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and 41 other organizations sent a letter to the Trump administration opposing its recent executive order, Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, signed Sep. 22, 2020. The endorsing organizations, rooted in their commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, urged the administration to immediately rescind this executive order. In September, many of the same organizations released a joint statement of guiding principles to advance racial justice and equity, the beginning of a commitment to work together on related policy issues.

The executive order is dangerous because it would ban certain words and concepts from being used in trainings on racial and gender diversity, equity, and inclusion for federal contractors and grantees. It would also have a chilling effect on the work of nonprofits, as we confront systemic racism and gender inequity in our communities. Already, federal agencies have been cancelling and changing trainings on implicit bias and sexual harassment. In the coming weeks, nonprofits that renew federal contracts and grants could see new language that forbids trainings and the use of certain terms such as “implicit bias.” This order is an attempt to shift civil rights laws in reverse, and, according to this article by the National Council of Nonprofits, we anticipate it to be challenged in court. 

The letter raises concerns for nonprofit organizations that administer federal contracts and grants around limitations that would be placed on them, restricting their ability to perform trainings based on core principles of equity and inclusion confirmed by decades of research. Organizations share their concern about how this will upend progress that organizations have made in advancing racial justice and gender equity work within their organizations, programs, and communities. The letter also cites the ambiguity of requirements in the order, creating risk of inconsistent interpretations by various offices within government. 

For more information and analysis on the executive order and its potential impact on nonprofits, review this in-depth piece by our partners at the National Council of Nonprofits. Independent Sector also released a new FAQ document on the executive order.

You can view the full letter online.