TSA is partnering with disability and multicultural advocacy organizations and tribal nations to make sure the passenger screening and traveling experience is appropriate for all. As part of the agency’s efforts, TSA annually hosts a Disability and Multicultural Coalition Conference.
TSA conducted this year’s conference virtually with the theme centering on the agency’s Stay Healthy. Stay Secure campaign to promote the significant checkpoint modifications to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect TSA workers and airline passengers.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske, the conference keynote speaker, talked about how TSA has worked to be as transparent as possible with employees and passengers while responding to the pandemic.
Pekoske acknowledged that in the current environment, travelers would like to know more before flying. The administrator pledged to socialize security procedures, to the extent they can be shared, as well as public safety enhancements, so travelers have an increased level of trust in TSA.
“We’re going to provide [the public] information that is important for their own choices as to when or where to travel and how to be prepared for that travel,” said Pekoske.
TSA acknowledges the importance of the relationships the agency has with the traveling public and will continue to promote inclusivity in sustaining these important relationships.
During the conference, TSA leadership presented the Disability Coalition Partner Award to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and Multicultural Coalition Partner Award to the Native American Church of North America (NACNA).
TSA recognized PVA for its contributions toward enhancing the traveler experience and advocating the fair and lawful treatment of all passengers while promoting the highest standards of transportation security.
TSA recognized NACNA for its ongoing partnership including enhancing and sharing TSA’s publications for travelers, providing input on job aids, and engaging with TSA personnel training opportunities to improve employees’ cultural and religious awareness. NACNA provided critical input about its members’ traveler experiences and helped TSA improve cultural sensitivities in airport screening of NACNA travelers and their ceremonial/religious items.
Pekoske closed his comments by highlighting TSA’s core values – integrity, respect and commitment. “I think it’s critically important for anybody working in a security agency to have high levels of integrity just because of the nature of the work we do and the trust that’s placed in us by the public,” he said. “I want to ensure that our workforce respects each other, conducts themselves in a respectful manner and respects all the people they interact with in the course of their duties. TSA is committed to ensuring that anything like 9/11, even remotely close to 9/11, never happens while we’re on duty. And we’re on duty all of the time, so that means it never happens. We’ve been very successful at that.”