GLMA Open Letter on Racial Justice
Dear GLMA members and supporters,
At this time of year when we remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., GLMA and our Board of Directors would like to take a moment to share what we envision as our role in dismantling White supremacy and building a society that is anti-racist. We share this vision with you after months of internal conversation and reflection. Our starting point must be an acknowledgement of GLMA’s own failures in prioritizing and supporting our communities in this anti-racism work.
GLMA’s mission is to ensure health equity for every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/sexual and gender minority (LGBTQ/SGM) individual and equality for all LGBTQ/SGM health professionals in their work and training environments; however, it is clear that we have not prioritized the work of accomplishing this for everyone. As an organization, we have not done enough to support those within our communities whose health and lives are most impacted by racism. On behalf of GLMA, the Board of Directors both acknowledges and apologizes for our history of not prioritizing anti-racist work within the organization and in our outreach and policy efforts. We accept that this failure was rooted in implicit bias and reinforced outdated social hierarchies including systemic racism and White supremacy.
There is no excuse for this oversight and the Board apologizes for GLMA not centering the organization on this work long ago.
The GLMA Board has collectively agreed that we will focus our efforts, resources and priorities on both being and doing better. The GLMA Board would like to add to this offer of apology, a commitment of understanding that this is only one step of many towards integrating an anti-racist framework into GLMA. We understand that being an actively anti-racist organization is fundamental to fulfilling our mission to ensure health equity for every LGBTQ/SGM individual and equality for all LGBTQ/SGM health professionals.
Our Vision Statement on Racial Justice
Racial injustice is a barrier to achieving health equity and equal opportunities for sexual and gender minority people. GLMA is committed to dismantling structural racism so that health outcomes are not negatively impacted by discrimination, stigma, and White supremacy. This is critical to achieve our mission for all sexual and gender minority people.
- Ensure that all our educational activities and partnerships are at their core anti-racist and that future collaborations prioritize intersectionality and anti-racist values/missions
- Foster brave and open learning environments that are safe for BIPOC both within and outside of GLMA
- Recognize and correct racist systems and structures that exist both internally and externally to GLMA
- Improve our skills in countering racism including reviewing our existing policy work and structure to better understand and address how racist practices and White privilege negatively impact our efforts to address racial justice issues, eliminate health disparities and advance health equity for all
- Foster the next generation of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) LGBTQ+ health care leaders across all disciplines
Our Action Steps
- Review and revise our existing strategic plan in light of our commitment to being an anti-racist organization
- Focus our existing Racial Justice Task Force on making GLMA and its conference environment more inclusive of BIPOC healthcare professionals
- Share anti-racism best practices with our membership and our organizational networks to promote actions to identify and dismantle racism
- Develop metrics for our committees and include identification and measurement of anti-racism efforts as part of quarterly board reports
- Commit to addressing White supremacy practices (e.g., perfectionism, sense of urgency, defensiveness, quantity over quality, paternalism, either/or thinking, individualism, fear of open conflict, right to comfort, etc.)
- Require education on anti-racism for GLMA board members, leaders, and staff
- Increase collaboration with BIPOC organizations in order to accomplish fostering the next generation of BIPOC healthcare leaders, addressing policy challenges, and sharing resources and knowledge
- Educate our membership and communities about anti-racism through our conference and other programs in part by purposefully including more BIPOC speakers and incorporating anti-racism content into our annual conferences
- Reevaluate our existing systems for research funding, committee, leadership and educational opportunities in order to mitigate any exclusion of historically underrepresented groups
- Foster a sense of community that is supportive and inclusive of our BIPOC members by committing to transparency and by creating protocols to address microaggressions and other discriminatory conduct experienced by our members, staff and volunteers in our spaces
There is no way for us to achieve GLMA’s health equity goals without 360-degree inclusion that elevates everyone. We see this work as an urgent moral imperative. Our board and staff are committed to ensuring an anti-racism lens is central to GLMA’s policy, advocacy and education efforts to advance health equity.
We know that becoming an anti-racist organization is not an end state and will require ongoing and dedicated effort. We have a long journey ahead during which we will make progress and experience setbacks that will fuel and inform the path forward. Our vision statement, our goals and our action steps promoting racial justice will guide our path as will you, our members and supporters.
We welcome your feedback, suggestions and questions as we move forward and know that your support, involvement and expertise will be central to our success. We also hope for your active engagement in these efforts to make GLMA a just and meaningful organization for all LGBTQ+ people.
Please feel free to share your thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and join us on Tues, 3/15/22 at 7pm ET for a virtual town hall on our anti-racism efforts.
|Shail Maingi, MD ||Estevan Garcia, MD, DrPH, MPA, FAAP, CPE, CPHRM, CPPS |
GLMA Board Member & Co-Chair, GLMA Racial Justice Task Force
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Network Health Equity and Inclusion Liaison
GLMA President-Elect & Co-Chair, GLMA Racial Justice Task Force