Call to Action: Inclusion, Representation, and Equality
Catherine V. Palmer, PhD
Antony Joseph, AuD, PhD
We sincerely hope that members of the Academy join us in expressing our deepest sympathy to the families of George Floyd and others whose tragic deaths have sparked long overdue conversations in our nation.
We ask that you share in our sadness for the unbearable stress these unthinkable events have placed on Black Americans and specifically on our Black members. While the majority of the membership cannot even begin to imagine this type of stress, we can use this time to imagine and realize a different future in the Academy.
The Academy leadership has been taking time in recent days to listen to Black national leaders and Black colleagues within the association. Although these individuals naturally have varying opinions, one piece of advice has been clear: Listen and create a pathway to action.
The Board recognizes that the organization does not have a track record of inclusion and that action is needed. The lack of diversity is evident across our committee, council, and board leadership structure, within our leadership development program—Jerger Future Leaders of Audiology Conference (JFLAC), and in our awards and recognition. In these very preliminary conversations, it is evident that the problems run much deeper and permeate all aspects of audiology from the student experience, preceptor experience, daily work experience, convention experience and more. We have not even scratched the surface in these conversations and understand that a tremendous amount of work needs to be done across all aspects of our profession.
The Academy will not tolerate discrimination, racism, prejudices, or bias. Our next step is to implement methods for institutional change by collaborating with our Black colleagues on how to execute a plan for change. This is a first step on a journey to institutional change, all members will be part of this journey; in fact, all members must be part of this journey for there to be real change. We are purposefully starting this conversation with Black members. This is not meant to minimize the experience of other members of color or other individuals who feel marginalized. This is a starting point in the current context, and we will expand this conversation over time. We will facilitate the needed dialogues and listen to how we can achieve needed shifts within the profession and truly be the organization of, by, and for each audiologist serving all individuals who need our help.
Please consider this an invitation if you identify as a Black audiologist (member or not) or a Black audiology student to click on the link below and provide your contact information so we can engage you to lead this conversation. The Academy leadership is committed to your voice being heard and for you to dictate the path forward that can lead to inclusion, representation, and equality.