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Diversity trainers react to Trump’s ban on diversity training in federal agencies

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- On Friday, President Donald Trump issued a ban on diversity training within federal agencies.

The White House memo, states, "Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions."

The document says diversity training suggests the United States is "inherently racist," or an "evil country."

Rochester couple Wale and Audrey Elegbede participate and conduct these types of training.

"This is all about the systems that we don't even see. You know, that has been in place hundreds of years ago, but that still affects us until today," Wale said.

Wale is the vice president for the Rochester NAACP. Audrey is an ethnic studies professor at Winona State University. Both believe this training is needed for all education levels.

"What I often encourage is a development of cultural humility. Which is an idea of self reflection and recognizing who you are and what you believe. So that you can then with greater compassion and awareness reach out and say, 'okay, I can't understand everything but I believe that everything that what you have to offer is worthy,'" Audrey said.

"Diversity equity and inclusion is something that is important for any community. And when you look at it also, it's really American. We have people of color, we have Blacks, Whites, Latinos. You know, this makes up the American fabric," Wale said.

The White House Memo also says, "These types of 'trainings' not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce,"

However, the Elegbedes say people who participate in diversity training come out more aware of certain issues.

"People that have gone to the trainings have told me, 'hey look this has been really eye-opening. There are privileges I have that I did not even understand'," Wale said

"The piece that I think gets lost in a lot of these conversations is recognizing that it is systemic, that it is not individual necessarily. But, that there are these systems that benefit some at the disadvantage of others. That can be racial, that can be gender, that can be class." Audrey said.

Wale will be hosting a Ted Talk on discrimination on Sept. 25 and 26.

KaMaria Braye

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