Letter to Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense - Gallagher, Franklin Demand Answers from Pentagon Regarding Senior Official's Racially Divisive Statements


Dear Secretary Austin,

We write you today to express concerns with Kelisa Wing, the Department of Defense Education Activity's (DoDEA) Chief of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (CDEI). Recent news reports revealed racially divisive statements made by Wing. The role of the CDEI is to ensure military schools are an inclusive place for service members' children, regardless of race. We are concerned the comments made by Ms. Wing demonstrate an egregious bias which is contrary to the goals of DoDEA.

In a tweet from July 23, 2020, Ms. Wing stated on Twitter "I'm so exhausted at these white folx in these PD [professional development] sessions this lady actually had the CAUdacity [Caucasian audacity] to say black people can be racist too." Ms. Wing is listed as an author on several progressive children's books in a series called "Racial Justice In America." One book is called "What Is White Privilege?" while another is "What Does it Mean To Defund the Police?' The former has lines such as: "If you are White you might feel bad about hurting others or you might feel afraid to lose this privilege." These racially divisive comments are directly counterproductive to the goal of a professional and diverse military. We must oppose racism wherever it occurs, but an approach that singles out one group or race is at odds with the military's proud history of racial integration.

For these reasons, we are concerned that Ms. Wing's rhetoric is not in line with the values and standards of the DoD. Furthermore, we have reservations of the judgement of DoDEA Director Thomas Brady. Director Brady once stated, "Kelisa Wing is exactly the right person to lead our efforts in building on the foundational work done to support meaningful change in our organization," which shows either poor judgement or willful ignorance.

Considering the statements made by Ms. Wing, we submit to you the following questions:

* Is the ideology expressed by Ms. Wing in "What is White Privilege?" and her subsequent statements consistent with the educational curriculum of the DoDEA?

* Does DoD endorse the ideologies shared by Ms. Wing on her Twitter posts regarding racial issues?

* Was DoDEA aware of the divisive statements made by Ms. Wing prior to her appointment to the position of CDEI in December of 2021?

* Has Ms. Wing's radical ideology been integrated into the curriculum proposed by DoDEA?

We look forward to your timely response to these questions.