USDA Adds Online Listening Sessions to Its Review of Racial Justice and Equity

From Xander Brown, The Daily Yonder

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has expanded opportunities for stakeholders to comment on how the agency serves marginalized and vulnerable communities.

The department added two online listening sessions so the public can literally speak for themselves. And USDA moved the deadline for commenting from July 15 to August 14.

The goal of the effort is to gather “input on how to best engage external stakeholders and community members representing marginalized, vulnerable, or underserved communities in order to increase participation in USDA programs, services, committees and decision-making processes,” according to a notice.

The department will offer three listening sessions on Wednesday, July 28 (10 a.m.-1 p.m., 1-4 p.m., and 4-7 p.m. EST). A second day of listening will occur Thursday, July 29 (7-9 p.m. EST).

Registration guarantees that participants have a reserved spot in a queue to offer their thoughts. Each speaker will have five minutes to touch on their interactions with the USDA as well as ways the USDA can remove barriers and engage more with underserved communities. Participants are also encouraged to touch on topics like access, enrollment, and general customer service experiences.

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