House passes Giraldo bill to require cultural competency training for state employees


STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) that would require state employees to undergo cultural competency training.

The legislation (2022-H 7737A) would require the Office of Diversity, Equity and Opportunity (ODEO) to create the training program, which all state employees would be required to receive annually. “Cultural competency” is an understanding of how institutions and individuals can respectfully respond to people from all different backgrounds such as race, language, economic, gender, veterans and disabilities.

“Cultural competency is much more than a willingness to overlook our differences,” said Representative Giraldo. “It’s respecting diversity through our words and actions and developing meaningful relationships with people of various cultural backgrounds. Everyone deserves to experience respect and dignity in their dealings with state government, and this legislation makes that a priority by acknowledging the fact that cultural competency is an ongoing process of self-awareness, developing social skills and behaviors around diversity, and the ability to empathize and advocate for others.”

The measure now moves to the Senate, which has passed similar legislation (2022-S 2236) introduced by Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket).