Biden revokes Trump ban on ad agency diversity training

(Christos S /

On his first full day in office President Joe Biden kept his promise on signing executive orders which would roll back divisive Trump administration policies. One of these included revoking EO 13950, a ban that curtailed diversity training for federal agencies and contractors. In fact, EO 13950, as it had been known, has now been removed entirely from the White House website.

 The executive order “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government” signed Jan. 20  requires all agencies to prioritize equity to create opportunities for communities that have been historically underserved, according to the document. 

Section 1.  Policy.  Equal opportunity is the bedrock of American democracy, and our diversity is one of our country’s greatest strengths.  But for too many, the American Dream remains out of reach.  Entrenched disparities in our laws and public policies, and in our public and private institutions, have often denied that equal opportunity to individuals and communities.  Our country faces converging economic, health, and climate crises that have exposed and exacerbated inequities, while a historic movement for justice has highlighted the unbearable human costs of systemic racism.  Our Nation deserves an ambitious whole-of-government equity agenda that matches the scale of the opportunities and challenges that we face.”

In the aftermath of the reckless (and criminal?) deaths of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor and the surge of Black Lives Matter movements last year, the ad industry went to great lengths to  combat inherent racism within and create advertising that addressed racial injustices.

In September, the previous administration threatened to cancel government contracts if agencies discussed unconscious bias, white privilege and other elements of “scapegoating.”

Under EO 13950, agencies in violation could also be declared ineligible for future government contracts. The administration even went to the length of setting up a hotline for employees to blow the whistle on training programs that did not comply.

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The executive order was immediately condemned by civil rights groups. They were not alone as a federal judge blocked it last month. And, earlier this month, the Labor Department suspended the order ceasing any investigations and discontinuing the hotline.

As a result, some agencies put their existing or planned training programs on hold until.

The new EO lays outs the Biden administration’s policy “to pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.

Perhaps most importantly, the new Executive Order directs the allocation of federal funding and resources to address the historic failure to invest sufficiently, justly, and equally in underserved communities. The administration is definitely making this a priority by calling for these equity activities to be funded.”

“I am both heartened and relieved by Biden’s rollback of the previous administration’s ban on diversity and inclusion training and his commitment to rooting out systemic racism and discrimination from our federal institutions,” Char Short, Director of Talent + Culture, Seattle-based DNA told Reel 360.”

Biden’s new executive order concludes with a revocation of Trump’s diversity training ban. Specifically, it reads:

“The heads of agencies covered by Executive Order 13950 shall review and identify proposed and existing agency actions related to or arising from Executive Order 13950. The head of each agency shall, within 60 days of the date of this order, consider suspending, revising, or rescinding any such actions, including all agency actions to terminate or restrict contracts or grants.”

Gender identity and sexual orientation addressed

Another impactful action that was signed into law yesterday was ‘The Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.‘ It reads:

Section 1.  Policy.  Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love.  Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.  Adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes.  People should be able to access healthcare and secure a roof over their heads without being subjected to sex discrimination.  All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.

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Short added, “… including his executive order requiring that the federal government does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Everything is top down, so leading by example with these executive orders sets the tone and expectations for all of us to follow. “

Biden’s fast moves to revoke the previous administration orders show a solid commitment to support workplace diversity training efforts and underscores the importance of these efforts in building strong, inclusive workplaces that benefit everyone.

SOURCE: White House

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Colin Costello is the West Coast Editor of Reel 360. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @colinthewriter1