The US embassy in Port of Spain raised the Black Lives Matter (BLM) flag at its Queen’s Park West compound all day on Wednesday to mark its “commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion” for staff as well as in its programmes and activities, a release said.
On Saturday the embassy raised the rainbow pride flag to mark the start of TT’s Pride Month. The release said the choice of June 30 concided with an internal embassy event at which its staff discussed the 2020 murder of George Floyd, “race and racism, and police-minority group relations.”
It said last year’s May 25 murder of Floyd was a flashpoint in a longstanding national converation around police brutality against black Americans and people of colour and galvanised “a global call to end the injustices of systemic racism in the US and around the world. “The staff forum arose from the Biden-Harris administration’s prioritising diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of the United States government,” it said.
The release quoted US president Joe Biden’s remarks at the January 26 signing of an executive order on racial equity. Biden then said, “We need to open the promise of America to every American.“And that means we need to make the issue of racial equity not just an issue for any one department of government; it has to be the business of the whole of government.”
US chargé d’affaires Shante Moore said in the release that the embassy takes its mandate from Biden and vice president Kamala Harris seriously. He added that the secretary of state Antony Blinken had created a chief diversity and inclusion officer position, for the first time in the department’s history. That officer reports directly to the secretary.
“We have a long way to go to correct historic, systemic, and institutional racism and injustices. We have created a platform within the embassy to discuss these issues. And we have the unwavering commitment from the Biden-Harris administration’s most senior leadership that prioritising diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility is also a national security imperative,” Moore said.
The release said on June 17 Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day. It explained, “Juneteenth – or June 19 – is an annual holiday to commemorate the contributions made by black Americans to the US, their resilience and perseverance despite their history of enslavement, and the continued fight against systemic racism.”
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