Mariah Noelle Villarreal

Where is the diversity we seek?

  • Published: Oct 28th, 2014
  • Comments: None

First off, congratulations to FIRST’s new Executive Advisory Board members. It is obvious that they have been long time, supportive members of the FIRST community.

“Individually, their experience is quite impressive. Combined, these three new members offer knowledge and resources to FIRST that is unmatched”

I’m positive that is true. However, I want to take a moment to express another perspective.

These appointments of the new Executive Advisory Board members show how FIRST continues not to seize opportunities to incorporate diversity of experience and thought.

Out of curiousity, I searched the profiles of all of the FIRST EAB members. Names found here: http://www.usfirst.org/aboutus/Leadership

Of the 23 EAB members, only 4 are white females and only 1 is a minority (Asian) male.

No Black board members, no Latino board members, no American Indian members?

This is ridiculous. I’m disappointed.

From an international non-profit, I expect more. FIRST says it wants to be “massively adopted”. That’s nice and all, but it takes more than what’s already being done at a high-level. Until FIRST starts mindfully making diverse placements on their boards and within it’s salaried workforce, it can expect a much longer, rockier path to massive adoption.

I find the work that I do serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with FIRST fulfilling, especially given how transformative FIRST can be in a young person’s life.

That’s why I wish FIRST would take advantage of the high-level opportunities to diversify.

Step up.

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