ASHA explicitly condemns systemic racism and oppression, and the violent acts that took the lives most recently of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd—and so many before them. We support our Black audiologists, speech-language pathologists, related professionals, and students, as well as Black clients/patients/students and their families. We stand with these individuals in supporting their communities, protecting their families, and fighting for their children’s opportunities. We stand with our members who are distressed, saddened, angry, and calling for change.
We commit to rooting out the systemic inequities that exist in our communities—within our professions, our schools and universities, and workplaces. Most ASHA members provide services in education and health care settings, institutions with pervasive histories of systemic racial discrimination in the United States. This is a time for evaluating our individual and collective contributions to maintaining the status quo and our responsibility to change it. We must identify meaningful solutions that address the challenges facing Black people to enable every person to be heard, to feel safe, and to thrive.
ASHA’s Envisioned Future states that by 2025, “inclusive policies and practices are in place within the Association and throughout the discipline, to ensure that there is a diversity of perspective that informs professional practice and decision-making.” Of ASHA's eight Strategic Objectives, two of them--Increasing the Diversity of the Membership and Increasing Members' Cultural Competence--relate to this outcome. These diversity ideals and a culture of inclusion are not possible if every professional, student, client, and patient is not seen and heard.
Diversity and Inclusion is a fundamental part of our organization. ASHA has an enduring record of developing high-quality programming, tools, resources, and information for our members and those they serve to address historically under-represented populations. However, we know that our sustained action following this statement will be what matters most.
ASHA is committed to engaging in discussions with members about the current racial climate within our country and within our professions. We will establish additional mechanisms for listening to our members who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)—especially our Black members—to share their unique realities as CSD professionals and students. We will expand existing offerings for increasing culturally responsive approaches, including cultural humility, and establish anti-racist initiatives to find effective solutions to enhance equity and inclusion within our Association, our professions, and society.
Reference this material as: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2020). Response to Racism [Position Statement]. Available from www.asha.org/policy.
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