Hold National FFA Accountable
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AN UPDATE (6/8/2020):
On June 4, 2020, National FFA announced that, after completing a thorough investigation, Lyle Logemann has been removed from office with the promise of offering continued counseling and sensitivity training. We hope that Lyle uses this opportunity to grow and wish him no ill will. As a reminder: holding Lyle Logemann accountable for his actions is not the end goal, but more accurately the first step. This is about pushing for a change to the system that simply is not working for students of color. This is about fully denouncing all forms of racism and implementing documented efforts towards inclusion and diversity for all 700,710 of our members and every member that has yet to join.
Let’s get to work. #ChangeFFA.
This petition is in response to racist rhetoric made by the current National FFA Western Region Vice President, Lyle Logemann. The comments, which held undeniable white supremacist values, were made on a video posted by a Past National Officer in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In these comments, Lyle Logemann insisted that standing up for black lives is “nonsense” and we should, instead, “say something positive about our country.” It has recently come to light that, as recently as 2017, Lyle shared several “memes” that contain racist and islamophobic “jokes” on his Facebook page. Though the Instagram comments have since been deleted, the memes remain accessible to this day. In a post made on June 2, 2020, National FFA’s CEO Mark Poeschl defended Lyle’s comments, stating that Lyle “realizes his mistake and owns it,” and that “at National FFA, we are going to love, mentor, and coach this young man through this situation.” With the addition of his previous shares on Facebook, it is clear that the comments made on Instagram were not merely a little “mistake;” instead it reflects a position Lyle clearly stands behind and has for several years. We do not accept Lyle's apology posted on Instagram on June 2, 2020.
It needs to be made explicitly clear that Lyle Logemann will be held fully accountable for his words. Lyle Logemann was elected to represent the National FFA Organization to the highest degree, displaying all of its best virtues and values. Is this what National FFA considers acceptable? The National FFA Organization claims to be an advocate for diversity and inclusion, both within its memberships and classrooms, as well as in the agricultural industry. In fact, National FFA is proud to parade its We Are FFA platform and its belief statement that all students deserve “a place where [they] are respected, connected and affirmed.” If National FFA values diversity, why are they providing a platform to a leader who is unsupportive of all students?
In addition to the outrageous incident above, National FFA needs to issue a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. The statement made on June 1, 2020 (and later deleted, along with valuable conversation in the comments section demanding better from the organization) linking to their We Are FFA page is not enough. The secondary post to Facebook on June 2, 2020 is not enough. National FFA continues to stand behind its message of "for all" rhetoric, which only serves to support the All Lives Matter movement. National FFA needs to explicitly and clearly state: Black Lives Matter!
Given all the factors stated, we are asking for the following things to reestablish National FFA's credibility as an organization where black students "are respected, connected, and affirmed":
-Removal from office or clear communication on the consequences for Lyle Logemann in the form of extensive unconscious bias and inclusive diversity and equity training
-A guarantee future candidates for national office will be vetted for any history of racism, homophobia, or other hate speech unfit for an individual serving the FFA
-A real statement categorically denouncing racism
-More training for National FFA Officers on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in the United States
-A revision of the National FFA's Diversity and Inclusion Statement to include a list actionable goals FFA will take to be more equitable to students
-The creation of a new staff position solely dedicated to diversity and inclusion initiatives in the organization
If you believe both National FFA and Lyle Logemann need to be held accountable for their words and actions, please join us in adding your name to this petition. National FFA and Lyle need to know that this will not be ignored! It will not be brushed under the rug! Lyle’s comments may have been deleted but the intent behind them will never be erased. Black Lives Matter! We believe in the future of Black FFA Members!
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