In the past weeks, the Academy has heard from and reached out to individuals and groups who have expressed concerns, made recommendations and offered potential solutions regarding systemic racism. The Board is listening and shares your sense of urgency.
At the same time, as leaders of a membership organization, the Board is committed to giving voice and opportunity to the talents and expertise of our members. The Board cannot do it alone and our Headquarters staff cannot do it alone. So much of the Academy’s advancement is accomplished by committees and task forces, who give generously of their time and energy to examine professional issues and questions and make recommendations to the Board. We deeply appreciate the committee and task force process, which has worked well for the Academy for many years and will continue to do so.
To more effectively address this important work and to support the Black Lives Matter Movement, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Planning Task Force are diligently leading the efforts to make sure everyone's voice is heard, and they have the full support of the Academy’s Board. The Committee's initial recommendations to the Board are:
- Develop 30/60/90/120-day action plans for Board approval that include goals, anticipated outcomes, time frame, audience and listeners
- Design and conduct diversity and inclusion-focused engagement forums to listen and learn from our various stakeholders with outreach questions, rules of civility and a robust feedback delivery format
- Form a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group, with representation from all organizational units (MIGs, DPGs, Affiliates, House of Delegates, CDR, ACEND, NDEP, Foundation and other stakeholders, as appropriate)
- Identify gaps, barriers, obstacles and opportunities to address core issues throughout the Academy, which will inform recommendations and action plans
- Work with the Board of Directors to implement action plans
- Issue regular reports, communications and distribution to stakeholders
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Board acknowledge that current events demand we be more introspective and active in pursuing change that leads to addressing inequities. We are fostering a community that honors the profession and welcomes, includes and serves all.
The Academy's Board is committed to developing a cultural shift for our organization that embraces diversity, equity, inclusion and access for our current and future members. There are challenges ahead, but there are many opportunities for growth. We will continue to encourage constructive, respectful engagement among peers.
As members of the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, it is our responsibility to acknowledge and embrace change with honesty, transparency and humility. We are confident that, together, we can and will courageously move this organization forward to address the difficult issues facing not only the Academy but our nation.
Linda T. Farr, RDN, CSOWM, LD, FAND
Patricia M. Babjak
Chief Executive Officer