The events of the past week have been heartbreaking, and have rightfully caused anger and anguish. All ethnic minorities and people of color face some prejudice and bias on a regular basis, but the systemic racism and implicit bias that is deep-rooted in the history of the Black community has to be acknowledged, apologized for, and remedied. We unequivocally condemn this hatred and racism that exists in our society. I understand that eliminating racism takes much more than issuing a statement. It is an ongoing, everyday process of active allyship, listening, and learning.
At VN DPG, one of our areas of focus is sustainability. Racism permeates every aspect of society, including health, food security, housing, education, criminal justice, the economy, and, of course, the environment. Everyone deserves a clean, healthy, sustainable, and safe livable environment. We cannot talk about planetary health and sustainability for a planet where everyone is not treated equally. We cannot advocate for animal rights while disregarding human rights.
Divisiveness and inequality stem from ignorance and fear of the unknown. It is important to recognize and eliminate any bias or prejudice associated with a different race or color. It is also important to acknowledge and call out injustice when it happens. I am very proud of our richly diverse and culturally inclusive community of VN members. Our Board, along with our Diversity Liaison, will continue to work towards championing equality and spreading education and awareness at all levels. Please know that you can reach out to me anytime. Feel free to voice your concerns and share your opinions, and let us know what we can do to help.
I am honored to be stepping into the role of Chair for VN DPG. I hope we can create a group that celebrates and embraces our differences. Let us work together on the journey to creating a safe sustainable space for all. Together we can stay strong, heal, and bring the change from within.
Chair, VN DPG
Message from our Diversity Liaison, Sheetal Parikh:
I think it is fair to say that we are all experiencing deep emotions as a result of what is unfolding across our country. There are no easy solutions to the problems we are facing and therefore it is okay to feel sad and angry. Listening with empathy and being nonjudgmental are a few of the positive ways we can all continue to support each other and the communities we serve. Going forward you will find the page for Diversity and Inclusion in our forthcoming newsletters to help understand each other’s diversely unique individuality and cultures. I would like to end with one of my favorite quotes, “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
VN DPG Diversity Liaison
Message from our Past Chair, Sherene Chou:
Black lives have always mattered. VN is committed to working with other DPG/MIGs and the Academy Board on a commitment to real change. It is our jobs as leaders to create an actively anti-racist culture and community and our organization at large “the Academy” to shift our profession to make real sustainable change. Our communities cannot rise until we break down barriers to make it more accessible to become a dietitian or diet tech and change the makeup of our profession. This, of course, will not change overnight. It takes collective action, collective work.
As a group, I am proud to say that we have been consistently vocal about inequities and empowering members of all backgrounds to stand in leadership positions. This is a privilege in itself. We know that volunteering takes extra work, advocating takes time. I am proud to say that we have our Diversity Liaison role filled and will continue to build a safe space for voices to be heard and continue to actively challenge our Academy to bring inclusion and change.
As volunteers, we cannot do it alone. We invite you to speak up for others in your practice and join us in our efforts by filling out a short survey.
- Are there tools that we can provide you as Vegetarian Nutrition Practice Group to build a more inclusive practice?
- Are there messages as members you’d like to share with the Academy at large?
As always, I’d love to hear from you. As I begin my final year as Past Chair, I hope we can continue to make changes.
To begin, I’d like to share 21 organizations and individuals building stronger black communities and food systems from Food Tank.
To building a stronger, more inclusive profession,
Past Chair, VN DPG