June 8 2019
Dear members of California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
As we start a new fiscal year of the California Academy, I want to acknowledge that the year 2020 will be remembered for Covid-19 pandemic and the changes to take place due to the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. Covid-19 affected the healthcare workers including dietetic professionals without public acknowledgment from the media or community. I know each of you worked tirelessly taking care of the individuals affected by the pandemic and it also affected all of us personally. At work we are healthcare professionals, at home teachers to our children, and care takers for our loved one, and cooks to feed our family and community. All these activities and demands placed on us put a toll and additional stress, so please remember to be kind and take care of yourselves.
Since the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others, we have seen historic peaceful marches across our cities, state, and nation. We can no longer remain by-standers and observers, we need to be interrupters when we see racism and inequality. We need to speak up for racial and social justice and equality in our communities and our profession. The problem of racism is not new to United States and structural racism pervades every corner of our society. It affects health, quality of life, where and how people live, and it is time for us to stop looking the other way. The rise of attacks on our Asian American communities as a result of Covid-19, the increasing levels of anti-Semitism, the growing number of anti-Muslim hate groups along with the upsurge of Islamophobia, and the intensification and escalation of anti-immigrant intolerance, which pervade our country today must be rejected. White supremacy must be rejected. Bigotry must be rejected. Hate must be rejected.
It is just not enough to say we are against racism. We need to be anti-racist, social justice warriors. This means we need to start by examining the biases that each of us carry and then we need to acknowledge them, take responsibility for them, and strive to change them. Until we realize that our unconscientious and conscientious biases exist, we cannot move forward to become warriors. If you have not completed an Implicit Association Test (IAT), give it a try here.
The Academy President, Linda T. Farr, has issued a message about racism and inequities with reminder for us to commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We all need to take the next step to solve the problems of systemic racism, social injustice, inequality, food insecurity, and health disparities. Let’s all work together to bring all these problems to the surface and do our best to take care of them one baby step at a time.
Our organization is working on our new strategic plan and we need all of you to make California Academy a professional organization that we can be proud to be a member. As your President, I am here to serve all of you; and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any suggestions, ideas, plans, that you want to share with me and the Board, or if you just want to chat. My sleeves are rolled up and I am ready to work for all of you.
Dorothy Chen-Maynard, PhD, RDN, FAND