Documents/ABADPE/5: Diversity

5: Diversity

Include diverse peoples, organizations, and perspectives in the planning and implementation of programs and in the audiences our programs serve.

Other Information:

"The United States is a pluralistic society. As such, we believe it is essential to affirm a commitment to diversity not only as a goal, but also as a value and a set of practices that undergird each and every one of the objectives and tactics designed to attain our organizational goals.Demographic trends, moreover, suggest that we are becoming increasingly diverse. In 1990, nearly 25 percent of Americans were either non-white or Hispanic. The U.S. Census Bureau projects this figure will increase to 47.2 percent -- nearly half of the population -- by the year 2050. Over this time period, for example, the percentages of Hispanics and Asians/Pacific Islanders are projected to nearly triple (from 9.1 percent and 3.0 percent to 24.5 percent and 8.75 percent, respectively). The percentage of blacks (non-Hispanic) will increase from 11.8 percent to 13.6 percent. A broad-based national program committed to public education, such as that of the Division, must address these demographic changes.Over the years, the Division for Public Education has engaged in a number of programs reflecting this commitment to diversity. We developed a multiyear initiative to encourage the involvement of lawyers and educators of color in K-12 law-related education programs. This initiative was developed in close cooperation with state and minority bars and statewide and local law-related education projects. We created a campaign, in partnership with the National Council of LaRaza, to foster awareness of legal issues among Hispanic-Americans in six key markets nationwide using radio and Spanish-English print resources. Recently, we conducted a "National Conversations" project, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, that sought to engage Americans from varied racial and ethnic backgrounds in open discussion about law-related issues of pluralism and national identity.To develop effective ways to reach diverse audiences, we first need to identify the perspectives and needs of multiple peoples and organizations and, moreover, seek their involvement from the earliest stages onward as programs are developed. The diverse membership of the ABA Standing Committee on Public Education helps to guide and inform our work. We have also involved diverse organizational partners, consultants, legal professionals, educators, and others in program efforts directed at general or specific audiences.While we have made progress in furthering this goal, we should improve our efforts. For instance, as the legal community itself becomes more representative of the diversity of the general population, we need to seek the support and involvement of more minority and women lawyers in public education programs about law. We can strengthen our ties with minority bars and other membership groups, such as the National Alliance of Black School Educators, the National Conference on Community and Justice, the National Urban League, and the National Council of LaRaza, to involve them in our efforts and seek their assistance in broadening our outreach.Diverse peoples bring a diverse set of experiences, understandings, and perspectives to our dialogue and program development. In this sense, the achievement of this goal can and does fortify our public education programs and extend their outreach. Accordingly, we have adopted an overall strategy that infuses this goal into our program efforts as a whole and considers it a continuing mandate in support of our mission.