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WSHA Calls on Leaders to Acknowledge Racism as a Public Health Crisis

Thursday, June 4, 2020  
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In the midst of the latest killing of an African American man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, MN, the Wisconsin Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Association shares the grief of Americans everywhere. WSHA calls on leaders for reform as the devastating effect of systematic racism and oppression targeting people of color in our communities continues. In the face of America’s continued structural racism and violence against individuals and communities of color, we all must do more.  Our hearts go out to Mr. Floyd and his family, our colleagues facing systemic racism, and consumers experiencing inequities in the care for their communication disorder.


WSHA denounces racism in all forms. As communication specialists we cannot remain silent. We have a responsibility to acknowledge racism, advocate for equitable policies and inform the public discourse. We see the horrific effects of racism in our communities every day.  We recognize the poor representation of black and minority individuals in our field and commit to actively engaging with leaders in these communities to do more. WSHA also recognizes the inequities of service provision to children of color and is committed to providing education and support to speech language pathologists and audiologists in Wisconsin to acknowledge and address these access and service injustices. 


All WSHA members and clients deserve mutual respect, dignity and opportunity.  We call on our members - It is our responsibility as speech language pathologists and audiologists to advocate for the basic human right of communication for all individuals. We must provide care equitably, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identify and/or expression, disability, culture, or socioeconomic status.


The Wisconsin Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Association calls upon local, state and national leaders to acknowledge that racism is an ongoing problem in the United States; commit to calling for an end to racist language, practices and policies; listen to people who have experienced racism; and value and affirm the human rights of all people.


What can you do as members, as professionals, as community members?


Be present and compassionate for the people who are most impacted by this tragedy. Name it and have conversations – even when that feels uncomfortable. Listen when people of color tell you about their experiences and believe them. It is imperative to speak out when you see injustice and racism. Ask questions about equity without burdening those already bearing the weight of white privilege. Do your own learning and un-learning, be humble and be gentle with yourself through this process. Below are some tools for you to review, think about, and act on:

  • American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) Code of Ethics (link)
  • Addressing Disparities in the Wake of Injustice, Violence, and COVID-19 (link
  • American Public Health Association Racism and Health Resources (link
  • Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture resources on anti-racism (link)
  • Understand how structural racism is showing up during COVID-19 (link

Thank you for your commitment to racial equity and social justice.

WSHA Board & Staff

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