Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion

A letter from Cornell Cooperative Extension Director Christopher Watkins to all staff regarding race relations:

Dear colleagues,

We are all devastated by racist violence and senseless killing of Black men and women, including those that we have heard about in recent weeks: George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. I recognize the trauma among Black communities that these acts of violence cause.

To quote President Pollack’s earlier statement to the Cornell community, “Decent people and institutions cannot stand silent while such violence against our fellow citizens continues.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension has strong ties in diverse communities across New York state, and we must work to more fully embody the principles of equity and inclusion in our programs, in our interactions with community members, and with each other. Events like this should make us should reflect the effects of direct and implicit bias on our colleagues as well as the communities that we serve.

I want each of us to pledge to do all we can to foster a culture of inclusivity where all are safe and most welcome to pursue their dreams and opportunities for growth without fear or apprehension based on the color of their skin. Not just for the good of our organization and the people we serve, but because it is the right thing to do.

My heart and thoughts are with those struggling with the pain created by these recent events.


Christopher B. Watkins
Director, Cornell Cooperative Extension

Statement from Lucy Joyce, Executive Director of CCE Orange County

CCE Orange stands with Director Watkins and we embrace our Orange County communities and families of color. We renew our association’s commitment to diversity in programming and staffing.We will continue to examine our implicit biases and make the necessary changes in order to ensure that ALL belong.

Last updated September 25, 2020