Chairman Moran Holds Roundtable Discussion with Minority Veterans

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC) – held a roundtable discussion to address veteran equality and ways the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can better serve women, minority and American Indian and Alaska Native veterans. 

“Since America’s founding, women and minorities have served vital roles in our Armed Forces,” said Chairman Moran. “This roundtable discussion was an important step in identifying the significant barriers that women and minority veterans face. With both groups serving in greater numbers today than ever before, it is incumbent on us to make certain that these veterans feel welcome at VA facilities, the VA’s benefit programs work for them, and the VA is a system worthy of trust. There are many great things that happen at the VA every day, but even one case of sexual harassment or racial discrimination is too many and shapes the way minority veterans think about their VA. When it comes to serving and caring for those who have served, there is no room for anything less than excellence.”

“The need for specialized care and services for women veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs becomes more evident each day as more and more women join our Armed Services,” said Marri Krupco, Vice-Commander for the Department of Kansas American Legion. “No one knows better what needs are and aren't being met than women veterans; these roundtable discussions give us an opportunity to voice our opinion to a group that has the potential to make changes.

“DAV has long advocated for more thorough data collection on minority veterans as a means of identifying, reducing and eliminating the disparities they face in healthcare access and outcomes,” said Marquis D. Barefield, Assistant National Legislative Director for Disabled American Veterans. “We appreciate Chairman Moran holding this roundtable and giving much-needed attention to this issue as we work together with the VA to equalize the system and better outcomes for all veteran populations.”

"PVA is grateful for this opportunity to engage Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee members about the issues and barriers to care women veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders encounter,” said Maureen Elias, MA, Associate Legislative Director of Government Relations for Paralyzed Veterans of America. “We hope this is the beginning of many conversations to ensure these veterans are not overlooked as legislation to improve care is crafted, introduced, and passed."

“I’m grateful to Chairman Jerry Moran, Ranking Member Jon Tester, and the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for holding this important discussion because the percentage of minority veterans have been accelerating from 22.4% in WWII to 35.1% in post 9/11, according to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics,” said Nestor Aliga, Col. (Ret.), Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans. “I’m hoping that today’s roundtable will result in more actionable team-based best-practices that maximizes resources from all levels of government and non-government, that will ultimately improve outreach and services to minorities, women, and all veterans. While I believe that we already know what to do, we now need to collaboratively do or put into action what we know while being mindful of diversity, equity, and inclusion principles.”

"One of the most beautiful qualities

         Of true friendship,

      Is to understand and be


Native quote provided by Benno H. Cleveland, President of the Alaska Native Veterans Association.

Participants in the Roundtable:

-          Center for Minority Veterans

-          Office of Tribal Government Relations

-          Women’s Health Services

-          Center for Women Veterans

-          Office of Transition and Economic Development

-          Veterans Homeless Program

-          Office of Health Equity

-          National Mental Health Director Family Services, Women’s Mental Health, and Military Sexual Trauma

-          Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans

-          Disabled American Veterans

-          Veterans of Foreign Wars

-          VA Rural Health

-          American Legion

-          Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

-          Paralyzed Veterans of America

-          Chief Consultant to the Deputy Under Secretary for Health

-          Military Officers Association of America

-          National Association of Minority Veterans

-          American GI Forum

-          American Legion Department of Kansas

-          American GI Forum

-          American Legion of Legion Department of Kansas

-          Asian-American Pacific Islander veteran

-          American Indian veteran

-          Alaska Native Veterans Association

-          National Council of Urban Indian Health

-          National Indian Health Board

-          Office of Intergovernmental Affairs