University of Illinois Extension strives to reach out to groups that have historically been neglected in program delivery, and ensure that programs are inclusive, rather than exclusive, in all aspects of program delivery. All reasonable efforts must be used to make individuals from groups that have not historically participated in 4-H aware of 4-H program opportunities and help them feel welcome to join. It is important that we communicate in such a manner that everyone who makes an inquiry or participates in 4-H programs understands how the programs will benefit them. Any barriers that prevent the full participation of under-served groups will be overcome.
University of Illinois Extension is subject to all federal and state laws regarding equal opportunity, nondiscrimination, and affirmative action, both in employment and program delivery. As such, each Extension staff member has a responsibility to provide equal opportunity in program delivery and access to all youth and adults that wish to participate in 4-H programs.
Civil Rights legislation, passed in 1964, is intended to ensure that minorities have the opportunity to benefit from Extension programs. It is intended to strengthen programs to more adequately serve those that, for whatever reason, have not had full access to such programs. In this sense, full implementation of the Act, insofar as the 4-H program is concerned, is directly related to strengthening the 4-H program in ways that provide equal access and opportunity for youth from all segments of society. Any discriminatory practices in the 4-H program, whether purposeful or inadvertent, must be eliminated. When planning programs, Extension staff and Councils must consider the needs of groups that have traditionally been under-served. This includes seeking out under-represented groups within the 4-H clientele; identifying, planning, and modifying programs to better serve their needs; and making sure under-represented groups are aware of Extension services and their availability.
As a land-grant institution, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a responsibility to acknowledge the historical context in which it exists. In order to remind ourselves and our community, we will begin this event with the following statement. We are currently on the lands of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Piankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations. It is necessary for us to acknowledge these Native Nations and for us to work with them as we move forward as an institution. Over the next 150 years, we will be a vibrant community inclusive of all our differences, with Native peoples at the core of our efforts.