The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is launching a new mission on Friday to analyze what parts of its agency have potential barriers for historically “underrepresented and underserved” communities.
Mission Equity is an endeavor to look at the agency’s programs, procurements, grants and policies to examine what challenges exist for minorities who want to join the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The agency identified “underrepresented and underserved” people as African American, Latino, Native American, Asian, religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, people who live in rural areas and impoverished people.
“At NASA, we’re on a mission of equity, launching opportunity … to reach those we’ve never reached before … to shatter boundaries and break down barriers across America,” NASA staffers say in the video.
“NASA is a 21st century agency with 22nd century goals. To be successful, it’s critical that NASA takes a comprehensive approach to address the challenges to equity we see today,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said.
The agency said it would also host a virtual public meeting on June 29 to discuss a request for information it issued to the Office of the Federal Register on Tuesday titled “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities in NASA Programs, Contracts and Grants.”
We’re launching Mission Equity, a comprehensive effort to assess how to expand access to our programs and examine potential barriers and challenges that exist for historically underrepresented and underserved communities. Find out how to give feedback: https://t.co/IJ2wk7qh0z pic.twitter.com/i6wD85Zc1e— NASA (@NASA) June 16, 2021
The request will look for public feedback on ways to “advance equity,” tools for “advancing environmental justice,” remove barriers to accessing grants, and how it can reach out and use its resources to help minority communities.
NASA made history in April when it conducted the first-ever powered and controlled flight on Mars. It also reportedly sent an email to employees on April 6, 2020, asking for volunteers to help work with unaccompanied migrant children, and renamed two cosmic objects in August 2020 after determining that the names are “insensitive” and “actively harmful.”
“The agency’s new Mission Equity is a bold and necessary challenge for NASA to ensure our programs are accessible to all Americans and, especially, those living in historically underserved communities across the country,” Nelson said. “Because when NASA opens doors to talent previously left untapped, the universe is the limit.”
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