On his first day in office, President Biden issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. This E.O. mandates embedding equity in government programming and decision-making processes for the leadership and staff of every department and agency in the Executive Branch to deliver tangible changes. The White House’s Domestic Policy Council charged each U.S. federal agency with forming an Agency Equity Team to implement E.O. 13985 according to their respective missions.
Long after their last day of military service, hundreds of thousands of Veterans continue to fight an uphill battle on an uneven American ground. That battle is not one our Veterans signed up for. It is not one that protects this great country against our enemies. That fight is for something many Americans have the luxury of taking for granted: Equity
Equity means VA intentionally commits to consistent and systematic fair, just and impartial treatment of all individuals and a just distribution of tools and resources to give Veterans, including Women Veterans, LGBTQ+ Veterans, Black American Veterans, Tribal Veterans, Pacific Islander Veterans, among other underserved communities, what is required to enjoy a full, healthy life.
Since the signing of Executive Order 13985, VA has taken immediate steps categorized across four buckets:
- Embedded equity through policy and operational changes;
- Advanced equity through grantmaking and research and development;
- Used the Veterans’ voice as our North Star;
- Innovated in stakeholder engagement to underserved communities.
VA advances equity in benefits, services and health care
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Delivering equity through VA