Statement on Addressing Racial Injustice
We are heartbroken, angry and deeply saddened by the repugnant displays of police violence against Black People and other People of Color across our country. Our deeper heartbreak, anger and sadness is over the social injustice, systemic racism and lack of accountability that have long defined and divided our country. Longstanding misuse of privilege and power by individuals, institutions, and political leaders undermines trust and the principles of a civil, democratic society.
This is an opportunity to reflect on how our professional organization can be part of the solution. Our Society has a long history of being an inclusive and welcoming community that celebrates diversity. How can we be more so? SNEB will make every effort to stand up to these injustices by, for example, amending our Strategic Plan to better address social determinants of health, resultant health disparities and systemic food injustice. This past year SNEB strengthened our values to include and define: community, equity, inclusion, openness and respect. The SNEB Mission Statement adopted in fall of 2019 includes promoting equity.
This is a good foundation. How can action support these fine words?
Nutrition educators empower individuals and communities to make better choices within eating environments and food systems that are often rife with barriers and challenges to healthy eating. Importantly, the nutrition education field is going beyond individual behavior change to encourage systemic change.
SNEB can play a critical role in exposing and addressing food injustices and racial disparities in the food system. We can direct our recent and emerging strength in policy, systems and environmental (PSE) approaches in order to empower communities with skills needed to change their local food systems, demand routine access to healthy food for all, and dismantle food-related discrimination in our institutions, at the local, state, tribal, and national levels.
Issues of racism and equity have long been part of the SNEB conversation, but have we been doing enough? How can we more explicitly and effectively address these issues? During our virtual SNEB Annual Meeting in July, we will provide space for open exploration and discussion of what an authentic, actionable agenda that promotes greater food justice and racial equity could look like for SNEB.
We are pleased to announce that our colleagues at Food Solutions New England invite SNEB members to access materials found in the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge. While the last “official” twenty-one day challenge ended in April, SNEB members can make use of the learning materials as time allows. There is also a racial equity resources page organized thematically. There is never a wrong time to learn more about the history and legacy of racism in our countries and in our food system.
We recognize that many of you are seeking ways as food and nutrition educators to address racism and inequities that permeate our food system. We invite you to seek meaningful action in your cities or towns to build momentum for true transformation towards a more just and equitable food system. And please share your experiences within our SNEB community.
Jennifer Wilkins, PhD, RD, SNEB President
Pam Koch, EdD, RD, President-Elect
Jasia Steinmetz, PhD, RD, Vice President
Susan Stephenson-Martin, MS, CD/N, Secretary
Karen Ensle, EdD, RDN, FAND, CFCS, Treasurer
Nurgul Fitzgerald, PhD, RD, Director At Large
Suzie Goodell, PhD, RD, Director At Large
Amy Mobley, PhD, RD, Director At Large
Sheila Fleischhacker, PhD, JD, Director at Large
Kendra Kattelmann, PhD, RDN, LN, SNEBF President
Karen Chapman-Novakofski, PhD, RD, LD, JNEB Editor-in-Chief
Navika Gangrade, BS, Student Representative
Lesli Biediger-Friedman, PhD, MPH, RD, ACPP Chair
Rachel Daeger, CAE, SNEB Executive Director