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Is The Equity Series Still Needed? 

Updated: Apr 28

By Shontaye Glover Jones


Last year, I struggled with this question, “Is there still a need for ‘The Equity Series’?  When I launched the conference in 2021, there was a clear need and apparent desire to learn more about diversity and inclusion; however, since that time,  the desire to adopt inclusion efforts and level the playing field has declined drastically.  


In a field as vital and diverse as speech-language and hearing sciences, it's crucial to ensure that every voice is heard, understood, and supported. Yet, the reality is that our profession still grapples with significant disparities in representation and awareness. 


The problem

Did you know that a staggering 92% of professionals in our field identify as white? *This statistic alone underscores the pressing need for greater diversity and representation. While our collective intentions as practitioners may be rooted in empathy and compassion, it's imperative to acknowledge that our perspectives are inherently shaped by our lived experiences. Without acknowledging and hearing from diverse voices, we risk overlooking the unique needs and challenges faced by clients and students from marginalized communities.


The disparities extend beyond demographics and into the very fabric of our practice. From assessment tools to intervention strategies, there exists a glaring gap in our understanding of how cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic factors intersect with communication disorders. Without a nuanced understanding of these complexities, we run the risk of perpetuating inequalities and inadvertently excluding those who need our support the most.


A Solution

Enter the Equity Series. Designed as a platform for dialogue, education, and action, this series serves as a catalyst for change within our profession and communities. By elevating voices from underrepresented communities and shining a spotlight on issues of equity and justice, we strive to foster a more inclusive and culturally responsive approach to speech-language and hearing sciences and education.


But why is the Equity Series still needed? The answer lies in our collective responsibility to advocate for those whose voices have been marginalized or silenced. It's about recognizing that the work of dismantling systemic barriers is ongoing and requires a commitment from each and every one of us. I recognize that The Equity Series remains an essential cornerstone in our journey towards creating equitable spaces. Whether you're a seasoned professional or a student just embarking on your journey, there's always more to learn, unlearn, and relearn.


A Call to Action

As we see an increase in book bans and gutting of DEI policies, the need for heightened awareness and education surrounding the needs of clients and students from marginalized communities has never been more pressing. In a world where inequities persist, it's incumbent upon us to be allies, advocates, and agents of change. Through the Equity Series, we aim to empower individuals to confront bias, challenge injustice, and champion inclusivity in all aspects of our practice.


Last year we asked you to REthink what equity means to you.  This year, we want you to GET INVOLVEDJoin me at the upcoming Equity Series and together, let's embark on a journey towards a more equitable future, where every voice is HEARD, and every individual is SEEN and valued.  Register at bethebrightest.com



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