As part of the new initiative, which will run until July 12, NASA invites the public to share ideas and comments on how the space agency can be inclusive and more representative of the public at large.
On June 15, the space agency announced a program dubbed Mission Equity and issued an RFI titled “Promoting Racial Justice and Supporting Underserved Communities in NASA Programs, Contracts and Grants.”
RFI’s goal is to determine what obstacles, which the agency is currently ignoring, are preventing under-wealth and under-represented communities from joining the space agency. It is part of one of several executive orders that President Joe Biden signed on his first day in office, January 20. You can read the full text of the RFI. here…
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BUT NASA Press Release Detailed Description RFI defines under-represented communities as “Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other colored people; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ +) people”. ; disabled people; people living in rural areas; and those otherwise suffering from persistent poverty or inequality. “
Public feedback from RFI will help NASA conduct a thorough review of its programs, practices and policies, NASA officials said in a statement.
People can leave comments via rules.gov; if the site is a little scary, This Video guides you through the commenting process. NASA representatives wrote that early comments are welcome and proposals received after July 12 will be considered for future outreach activities.
The RFI lays out dozens of questions that NASA wants answers to. These include, according to the agency:
- Does your institution offer any formal training for mentor internships / on-the-job training on bias, anti-racism, or general DEIA [diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility]?
- What strategies should NASA consider to ensure accessibility and opportunities for specific groups, such as people with disabilities or people with limited English proficiency?
- How NASA can better work with other federal, state, local, regional and tribal governments to advance environmental justice; support rural, urban and coastal communities; and address the equity issues faced by underserved communities?
- Are there special NASA rules, policies, or requirements that prevent individuals and institutions that are part of underserved communities from identifying or applying for NASA financial assistance opportunities or implementing financial assistance awards?
According to RFI, these efforts contribute to the implementation of Presidential Executive Order 13985, “Promoting Racial Equality and Supporting Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,” signed on Inauguration Day. “Agencies were asked to“ assess and to what extent their programs and policies perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved groups, ”RFI said.
The RFI goes on to state that “these efforts will advance NASA’s vision of improving the quality of life for everyone on Earth; NASA’s mission is to explore, exploit and promote space exploration for human entrepreneurship through the research, development and transfer of advanced aeronautics. , space and related technologies, economic growth and security, and advanced education, and NASA’s goal of enriching our nation’s society and economy through a fair and equitable approach. “
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