US speech-language-hearing group ASHA strengthens its message on racism, police brutality, and discrimination



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In a gesture equivalent to taking a knee, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has admitted to falling short in its June 1 statement against racism and US police brutality, following up on June 9 with a strong message of condemnation and commitment.

"Our statement fell short, and for that we apologize. We missed the mark, and we let you down," announced ASHA by newsletter and on its website, having "heard from many members about the pain this message has caused".

Two days later, along with its apology, ASHA issued a humble "clarifying message", guaranteeing a new statement from its board of directors in the near future "to let members and others know that we stand as an organization against racism, oppression against African Americans, and discrimination". The June 9 response message goes much further, stressing: "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."

A blog was also posted by ASHA Chief Staff Officer for Multicultural Affairs, Vicki Deal-Williams, that comes "closer to the heart of what we were trying to say", announced ASHA:

In fact, the original June 1 position statement, referring readers back to ASHA’s 2017 Diversity and Inclusion statement, laid out the Association's commitment to defending diversity and respect through a policy of inclusion. Given the swift reassessment and apology from ASHA within the framework of a national panorama of riots, political brawling, injuries, and deaths, the nuancing of the position statement was deemed by some of the Association's members to lack the tenor and detail now being required across the US in statements by the full spectrum of groups and institutions representing interaction with the public.

Source: ASHA