Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force Announcement

by Melanie Jagneaux, CO-OP®, IOA 2020-2021 President

In July of 2020, the IOA Board unanimously approved the establishment of a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force. This task force will help IOA internally evaluate itself on aligning with anti-racism practices and racial justice. It will also define parameters for ensuring IOA cultivates a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment that supports membership belonging and connection within the organization.

Initial work of the DEI Task Force will be to propose a position statement for IOA regarding racism and racial injustice and recommending any changes to the Terms of Reference for the task force that will better articulate its purpose, composition, authority, and role in relation to the IOA Board of Directors. More importantly, the task force will be critical in the process of profound reflection and examination of how our organization may have contributed to the perpetuation of racial injustice, whether intentional or unintentional. Ultimately, the work of this new task force must be focused on action—that is, doing our part to dismantle the structures, processes, and practices that have reinforced racial injustice—and then building a way forward that advances racial justice, belonging, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Our association's engagement in the process of confronting head-on our own history and the harms of white supremacy and white privilege in the United States and around the world is long overdue. Many white people are just waking up to the trauma, pain, and exhaustion that has been the way of life for Black and Indigenous people for centuries. The DEI Task Force will explore our cultural and professional norms with the goal of uncovering any structural biases within IOA that may have sabotaged fundamental fairness and equity. 

If you are an IOA member who is interested in serving on this task force then you are assured a place on the team. All you need to do is email us at [email protected]. Once assembled, the task force will elect a chair and together chart a path forward.

The IOA Board has asked Marcia Martinez-Helfman, JD, MSW  (IOA's Immediate Past President) to be one of the first members to serve on the task force. Her initial role is to simply bring the group together. The Board feels strongly that the task force should be mostly comprised of and led by IOA members who are not already in leadership positions. Our hope is to bring together a group that can contribute to making impactful change. If you are passionate about the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion and are interested in supporting positive change for the IOA, please consider volunteering to serve on the DEI Task Force.


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Comments on "Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force Announcement "

Comments 0-15 of 2

Elisa Enriquez - Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Thank you for stepping up the game, IOA. Also... perhaps the International Ombudsman Association can start by being renamed the International Ombuds Association. Thank you for listening.

Geri-Ann Ranson - Friday, September 18, 2020

"I think we have to own the fears that we have of each other, and then, in some practical way, some daily way, figure out how to see people differently than the way we were brought up to." ~ Alice Walker

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