Diversity and Inclusion

NFPA's Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee was originated by Vice President and Director of Positions and Issues (VPPI) Lori Boris in 2017. The VPPI developed the D&I Committee's policies and goals, oversees and supports its work, and serves as an ex-officio member.

The D&I Committee's objective is to research, investigate, and recommend policy concerning the feasibility of implementing diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives.  One of the manners in which the D&I Committee will achieve this objective is to work on development of NFPA's Model Diversity and Inclusion Policy to be used as a resource for NFPA member associations, and to provide guidance and suggestions for implementation of their own diversity and inclusion policies. 

The D&I Committee's first initiative was development of NFPA's Justice Champion Award which was established to recognize a practicing paralegal whose conduct, actions and activities demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to diversity and inclusion, as defined in NFPA's Position Statement on Diversity, and in promotion of NFPA's Core Value of supporting unity within the profession.

The Justice Champion Award is in honor of the late Heather Heyer, a paralegal at the Miller Law Group in Charlottesville, Virginia, for her dedication to the expansion of civil rights, social justice, and the expectation that all human beings be treated with dignity and respect. She consistently advocated for those from underserved, disenfranchised, and marginalized communities.

The D&I Committee is also engaged in the following endeavors.

  • Updating of NFPA's 2006 Position Statement on Diversity.  The Position Statement is a baseline for development of a more comprehensive D&I policy.  The D&I Committee presented the revised and updated Position Statement on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity to the Board at its Spring 2018 meeting.  An Agenda Topic to approve the revised and updated Position Statement will be considered by the delegates at NFPA's October 2018 Convention in Seattle, Washington.
  • Augmenting the Judging Panel of the Justice Champion Award. The D&I Committee has proposed that a member of the Committee be added to the judging panel for the Award.  An Agenda Topic on this issue will be considered by the delegates at NFPA's October 2018 Convention in Seattle, Washington.
  • Professional Development.  The D&I Committee is developing resources related to the following:
  • Diversity and Inclusion as an Ethical Requirement
  • NFPA's ADA Accommodations Policy
  • Unconscious, Implicit, and Affinity Bias

The D&I Committee welcomes your input.  If you are interested in additional information, or would like to join this dynamic Committee, please contact NFPA's D&I Committee Coordinator, Sybil Taylor Aytch, at diversity@paralegals.org.

Sybil Taylor Aytch, RP®, M.Ed., Coordinator, Sacramento Valley Paralegal Association
Wayne D. Akin, Oregon Paralegal Association
Jimece S. Black, Missouri Paralegal Association
Brenna C. Dickey, RP®, Oregon Paralegal Association
Sonjanita C. Jordan, New Orleans Paralegal Association
Salimah Rosenberry, ACP, Central Pennsylvania Paralegal Association
Tom Stephenson, ILAP, Illinois Paralegal Association

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