The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JULY-AUGUST 2020 77 AFSA NEWS AFSA NEWS THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please check for the most up-to-date information. All events are subject to cancellation and/or rescheduling. July 3 Independence Day: AFSA Offices Closed July 15 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting August 19 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting August 28 Deadline: Nominations for Sinclaire Language Awards September 7 Labor Day: AFSA Offices Closed September 16 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting September 18 Fifth Annual Foreign Service Night at Nationals Park Note: Based on local conditions, this game may be canceled. CALENDAR AFSA Supports Racial and Social Justice AFSA President Eric Rubin shared the following message with members June 3: Our nation is in an unprec- edented situation. The COVID-19 global pandemic has disrupted all of our lives, both personally and profes- sionally. And now, we bear witness to the understandable sadness and rage over yet another unnecessary death of an African American—George Floyd—in Minneapolis. As American diplomats, it is our job to explain America to the world.We have always pointed to our story as being worthy of emulation, whether it is human and civil rights, fighting against corruption, the power of our culture— much of it fueled by African American artists—or the strength of our democratic institutions. Because of recent events, we have been force- fully reminded that we still have a long way to go as a nation. AFSA fully supports non- violent demonstrations to protest injustice, especially social and racial injustice. They are the cornerstone of any democracy, including America’s, and are often the harbinger of much-needed reform. We have also heard from many within the Foreign Service community about their own experiences with systemic racism, both within and outside of our agencies. These stories are distressing and vividly demonstrate that our own community is not immune to the injustices of American society. I am sad to say that AFSA’s history on these issues is checkered. As an institution, we often took the wrong side on issues of racial and social justice.We were not full- throated in our demands for racial equality during the civil rights era.We did not come to the support of our LGBTQ colleagues in the 1990s when we should have. I think it is important to acknowledge these shortcomings. Today, AFSA is strongly devoted to equality and diversity in all aspects.We push the management of all foreign affairs agencies to do more and to do better.We work hand in hand with the Pickering, Rangel and Payne Fellows programs to ensure a steady intake of diverse Foreign Service candidates. We have worked to address unconscious bias.We have long working relationships with minority employee affin- ity groups. I am proud of this work and feel privileged that AFSA can help push us toward a more representative Foreign Service. AFSAwill continue to sup- port all of our members on these issues.We will support and defend you so that you can continue to safeguard America’s interests, assist Americans overseas, and pro- mote the ideals of democracy and the protection of human rights everywhere.   If you believe AFSA can play a role in better support- ing our shared community, please let us know.We will be there. n AFSA Members Speak Out in COVID-19 Survey AFSA recently completed a survey of active-duty membership that assessed responses by foreign affairs agencies, posts and missions to the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted the survey in order to hear directly from members about their priority concerns in relation to the pandemic response. We plan to use the feedback to align AFSA’s priorities with those of our membership. Demographics and Response Rate. Twelve percent of active-duty AFSA members responded to the survey, a rate similar to that of the general active-duty member survey in 2019. State consular officers and consular fellows comprised the largest group of respon- dents. USAID members made up almost 11 percent of respondents. Continued on p. 84