The Maryland Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSHA) denounces racism, hateful incidents, violence and  discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities (AAPI). We stand united against racist, violent acts and discriminatory attacks against all communities that are oppressed.

MSHA mourns the loss of the victims of the shootings in Atlanta. As communication sciences and disorders (CSD) specialists, we work to enhance the quality of life and communication of our patients, clients, students and their families, while celebrating the diversity of their backgrounds in our professional practice. We recognize the negative impact of racism, and cannot turn a blind eye to the long history of discrimination the AAPI community has faced, including the recent surge in verbal and physical attacks during the pandemic.  As a professional organization, MSHA will continue the work of finding new and effective solutions to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion in our field, and support our colleagues and clients from marginalized communities.  We call on our leaders, members, and students to stand with us in solidarity and action to effect change.

What can you do?

 

  1. Join the MSHA Community of Practice Communities Supporting Diversity (CSD): Professionals and Students Together. This group is for all current and prospective BIPOC students, assistants, clinicians, and allies to informally share, discuss, and support each other.

    The first meeting is Thursday, March 31, 2021 from 7-8pm. Our first topic is “Supporting, uplifting, and advocating for clinicians, colleagues and clients of color.” Sign up here: http://tinyurl.com/MSHAmarch2021allies


  2. Gain insight to the AAPI community:
    1. In the US, the AAPI community is diverse, representing both the highest and lowest SES and educational outcomes.
    2. In the US, the AAPI community comprises people who speak more than 100 distinct languages.
    3. One of the most common microaggressions for AAPI individuals is the mispronunciation or anglicization of names. As clinicians, we can model pronouncing individuals’ names to honor the dignity of AAPI identities. We can also recognize that AAPI names may not follow anglicized rules. For example, surnames may not always change after marriage.
    4. The AAPI community comprises over 60% of the world population and includes people from Southeast Asia, West Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific Islands
    5. AAPI people commonly experience the microaggression of being perceived as the “perpetual foreigner” who despite citizenship, do not belong in the US.
    6. People in the AAPI community have been pitted against other minoritized groups with the “model minority” myth.

 

  1. Consult the “Needs Assessment of Maryland Asian American Caregivers of Children with Developmental Disabilities” to understand how best to support local AAPI caregivers.
    1. Listen to parents and act quickly. The majority of parents reported they trusted their providers’ advice, yet experienced delays in obtaining a timely developmental evaluation.
    2. Connect parents with advocates from their own community.
    3. Reduce key barriers to service access.
    4. Increase community awareness of developmental disabilities.
    5. Build on the strengths of each family and community. Families demonstrated resilience to stressors and commitment to support their children in partnership with their providers and community members.

 

  1. If you witness discrimination, consider applying the steps in this framework from the American Psychological Association.

1.   

Acknowledge - Acknowledge that assault, harassment, or microaggression happened.

2.   

Validate - Validate the emotions you and others might be feeling.

3.   

Reframe - Reframe the incident so the individual knows he/she/they did not do anything wrong.

 

Talk to the oppressor and tell them why his/her/their words and actions were hurtful. For example, when you say ‘China Virus’ and ‘Kung Flu,’ you incorrectly attribute a pandemic to an entire race, which incites harm and violence to innocent people.

 

  1. If you are the victim, use the steps outlined in the WITS framework for dealing with harassment.

 

1.   

Walk away (log off if you are online).

2.   

Ignore rather than engaging in a direct confrontation. Ignoring does not mean  you are weak. The harasser may be seeking attention.

3.   

Talk it out - Speak up. Ask the aggressor to stop. Or talk about it later.

4.   

Seek help - consider seeking help from an authority figure.

 

Remember that it is NOT your job to educate others.

 

  1. Consider joining the MSHA Multicultural Affairs Committee by contacting office@mdslha.org.

 

Submitted by the MSHA Executive Board and MSHA Multicultural Affairs Committee



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