The 4-H Real Talk series is led by Keith Jacobs, Illinois 4-H STEM specialist. This dialogue series presents an honest reflection on the experiences of racism which our Black and Latina staff have had during their tenure with 4-H. The goal of the initiative is to highlight past failures and future possibilities in how we support anti-racism among our workforce, volunteers, and youth membership. The series challenges organizational culture and drives conversation about needed change, even in situations that produce personal discomfort. 

Inspiring Personal Reflection

For more than a century, 4-H has fostered leadership and personal development for youth to help them achieve their fullest potential. Driven by a deep commitment to the 4-H motto, “To make the best better,” we believe that ensuring equity for both our staff and the youth we serve is an organizational imperative.

By working together, we will create the organizational changes needed to eliminate any instances of racism and inequality that exist in our programs. In the words of the late Representative John Lewis, "When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something. To do something. Our children and their children will ask us, 'What did you do? What did you say?'" 

To this end, we offer our hearts, hands, head and health in the service of eliminating structural racism from every aspect of our organization. We invite you to join us in this process of self-reflection and transformation. We are honored to continue to play a role in the growth of the 4-H program for youth development through programs, relationships and community partnerships that promote racial justice and equity.

National 4-H Council Opportunity4All

The Illinois 4-H Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative is aligned with the National 4-H campaign, Opportunity4All, which pledges to eliminate inequities for kids and ensures equal access to resources they need to thrive. Key points of the national campaign include:

  • Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not.
  • The gap between kids is only getting wider and is largely aligned by race, family income, and where they live. The impact reveals itself as unequal access to education, technology, nutritious foods, and inspiring mentors. The recent pandemic has pushed some kids even further behind.
  • Young people will judge us not by the promises we make, but by the promises we keep. It’s time we provide opportunity for all kids.