MacDill Air Force Base ramps up talk and action about diversity and inclusion
By ILEANA NAJARRO | Tampa Bay Times | Published: January 21, 2021
These are some of the efforts underway at the
In December 2020, the Department of the Air Force Inspector General released a report confirming that racial disparities exist for Black service members in areas such as military justice and leadership opportunities.
At a recent town hall and in interviews, leaders at MacDill said the local base was not immune to such disparities.
“As a subset of the
Efforts at the local and
“What we’ve said and what I firmly believe is that diversity, inclusion, valuing diversity and inclusion on our teams, it’s a mission imperative,” said Col.
Jonsson has charged MacDill leaders with making sure they understand their blind spots when it comes to race and other forms of diversity, and he wants them to be developing diverse talent.
He had specific guidance regarding disparities in military justice.
“By inviting racially diverse leaders from within our teams to the table for discussions about discipline issues, particularly for minority Airmen, we are able to see a clearer picture, address the possibility of our own unconscious biases, and ensure equity for like offenses for all Airmen,” Jonsson said in an email.
More broadly, the military units at MacDill — be they flyers or maintenance technicians — have been engaged in group discussions on race and other forms of diversity. Robins said he’s seen a lot of airmen stepping forward and being active in these discussions. The wing also developed a diversity and inclusion working group.
“One of the things that we are aware of and in compliance with is a presidential executive order that has suspended formal training on diversity and inclusion topics,” Jonsson said, referring to Trump’s executive order. “But what it didn’t suspend was the discussions that we have at the unit level on these topics, which are, in fact, encouraged by
Though there’s a new presidential administration in place, Robins said it’s too early to speak of potential changes in directives.
“The method is to wait for the guidance, and then we’ll start planning based off that guidance,” he said.
Beyond these conversations, airmen have until the end of the month to fill out an annual
The wing at MacDill also is leading events and programs involving the
The Aviation Inspired Mentorship program is a first for MacDill. Members of the operations group will reach out to schools in the area to do community activities and introduce young people to what it means to be a rated officer and fly in the