10/27/20 - A Message to Providers from Secretary Hou: Trump Administration Executive Order re: DEI Training

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Dear Stakeholders,

As many of you know, on September 22, 2020, the Trump Administration issued an executive order purportedly to affect the ability of federal grant recipients to conduct certain kinds of diversity, equity, and inclusion training. We have received questions regarding the content and immediate impact, if any, of the order on IDHS's federal grant recipients.

IDHS believes it is more important than ever to conduct the kinds of training that this order seeks to prohibit. And while IDHS cannot provide legal advice, and every provider should read and analyze the order for themselves, this order is not affecting training-or federal funding-for IDHS. Additionally, we do not believe it should affect either training or federal funding for IDHS federal grant recipients.

The Illinois Department of Human Services condemns the attempt to prohibit training that advances equity and racial justice, and any attempts to ignore the impact of institutional and systemic racism. Training and education are the first important steps in the process to eliminate barriers to equity and inclusion.

IDHS and the Pritzker Administration are committed to combatting institutional and systemic racism. IDHS has already begun and will continue to conduct these very important trainings to confront and remove systemic and institutional barriers. The Pritzker Administration has also charged every State agency to create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan to address institutional (within an agency) and systemic (in how an agency delivers services) racism. Stay tuned to learn more about IDHS' evolving Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Racial Justice plan.

Below is language, specific to federal grantees, from the Trump Administration executive order:

Sec. 5. Requirements for Federal Grants. The heads of all agencies shall review their respective grant programs and identify programs for which the agency may, as a condition of receiving such a grant, require the recipient to certify that it will not use Federal funds to promote the concepts that (a) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (b) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (c) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex; (d) members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex; (e) an individual's moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex; (f) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; (g) any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or (h) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race. Within 60 days of the date of this order, the heads of agencies shall each submit a report to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that lists all grant programs so identified.

While providers should assess for themselves, the federal executive order appears to have no immediate impact on federal grants. Rather, it requires federal agencies to report to the federal Office of Management and Budget within 60 days of the order, to list grant programs to which the order might ultimately be applied. If the federal executive order were ever to actually be applied to recipients of federal grant funds, like IDHS and its federal grant recipients, IDHS's reading is that it would not affect the ability to use non-federal funds to conduct these important trainings.

Please know that IDHS will not allow this federal executive order to have a chilling effect on our own diversity, inclusion, equity, and racial justice work and training. And, while providers will need to make their own determination, IDHS encourages providers to begin or to continue to provide the same. We look forward to continuing our collective mission to be more equitable and inclusive entities and providers.

Thank you,

Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS