Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) introduced a resolution to express support for naming new or undedicated Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities after women and minority veterans.
“Far too often, women and minority veterans are overlooked and under appreciated when it comes to recognizing them for their service,” said Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) Interim Executive Director and Air Force veteran Jennifer Dane. “Passing this resolution would send a powerful message of support and gratitude to LGBTQ, women and other minority veterans for their sacrifices in defense of our nation. We applaud Congresswoman Julia Brownley for her leadership in working to make sure minority veterans know their service matters.”
“It is time for our nation to recognize and honor the women and minority veterans who have sacrificed so much, but have too rarely been recognized for that sacrifice,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “Naming VA facilities for women and minority veterans would not only show our appreciation for the great courage and dedication these veterans have demonstrated in defense of our nation but it would serve as an important step in reminding the nation that we have much work to do to provide greater equity in care and benefits.
“I’m grateful to the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and LGBT Equality Caucus, who were important partners in drafting this bill.”
Since the Revolutionary War, millions of women and minorities have served in the Armed Forces of the United States. They have served in every role, from infantry soldier to cyber warfare engineer. Yet, as of November 2020, of 1,255 VA healthcare facilities, only 13 have been dedicated to honor the service of minority veterans and only one facility has been named in honor of a woman.
In a recent report, the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans recommended inclusive naming of VA facilities “to demonstrate to women veterans that their service matters.” While VA has concurred with the recommendation, it is the responsibility of Congress to pass legislation to actually name these facilities.
Under existing procedures, the names of VA facilities are designated via legislation. Facilities can be named after an individual who is deceased and was either a distinguished veteran, a Member of Congress directly associated with the facility, a high ranking VA or DOD official, or a person who performed outstanding services for veterans. To be considered, the bill must be supported by each Member of a state’s delegation, and the request must have support from Congressionally chartered veterans’ organizations.
Read the full resolution, here.