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Associations Respond to the 2016 Election Results

Associations traditionally send out a bland proforma statement in support of or welcoming the incoming administration after Presidential elections. (cough, ASAE, cough). And of course, it’s important for associations to represent all of their members and also to be able to work effectively with the new administration.  But this year, there are obvious concerns that must be addressed.  EVERY association has members, staff and other stakeholders who belong to one or more minority segments that are in clear and present danger from the proposed policies of the incoming President.  Some associations (scientific societies, for example, among many many others) will have their entire raison d’etre threatened and directly impacted.

We’re seeing a lot of reactions to this situation – I am sure you’ve seen the brouhaha around AIA’s statement,  and the subsequent apology from AIA’s CEO Robert Ivy.

A post-election message from AIA’s CEO and 2016 President from AIA Content Team on Vimeo.

AIA is not alone, of course.  ASAE is getting its share of backlash, including at least one letter so far from members asking ASAE’s CEO and Board Chair to take steps towards a “community-wide dialogue and action on behalf of a nation at risk”.  They could take the example of the American Libraries Association, who also had to respond to “confusion and anger regarding our Association’s position on safeguarding and promoting its commitment to our core values including diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Please know that we stand by our members. With this in mind, the ALA is committed to providing a platform where you can share your ideas and concerns. We have reached out to key ALA staff and have asked for an opportunity for people to comment with their thoughts, ideas, and feedback. The most accessible location for this to happen is on the American Libraries blog, The Scoop. Please feel free to engage with us here.

The ALA is very concerned about the role of our nation’s libraries under this new administration, both at the legislative level as well as at the state and local level. That concern, however, should never eclipse our commitment to our members, to defending our core values and advancing our policy positions.

We have a great deal of work ahead of us as we work to abolish intolerance and cultural invisibility, and stand up for all the members of our communities, as we promote understanding and inclusion through our efforts. We believe that we all must work so that our voices are heard at the federal, state, and local government levels, and so we can continue to advance the issues and core values that matter to our members.

Please know that we feel—as does ALA administration and leadership—that our work with any governmental entity or individual(s) should never come at the cost of our core values as an organization. We can promise you that this will not change.

Other associations have already taken the step of reaffirming their commitment to diversity while pledging to work with the incoming administration, and some of these are really powerful in their simplicity.  Here are a few examples of all kinds of different statements.

AHA Statement in Aftermath of 2016 Election

National Association of Social Workers

“The Association is deeply concerned by statements Mr. Trump has made regarding women, people of color and immigrants. At the same time, we acknowledge we must work with the new administration to address pressing issues of the day, including justice reforms, racial and gender inequality, access to health care for all, and helping more Americans achieve economic self-sufficiency and stability. The NASW Code of Ethics makes clear the importance of social justice. We cannot support any efforts to marginalize or oppress any group of people, and will always work to assure that human rights extend to everyone. Social workers continue to strongly advocate for our country’s most vulnerable populations.” (Read more)

American Hospital Association

“Amid the changing political landscape, our priorities remain the same – advancing the transformation of health care, ensuring access to coverage, preserving adequate resources for health care, protecting patient access to care, enhancing the quality of care and patient safety, and making health care more affordable. Our nearly 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations are located in every congressional district in every state. They are a trusted source of information for legislators on the complex issues related to health care, and the ramifications that items under consideration will have on our communities – and their constituents. It’s why we work in a bipartisan manner in advancing our agenda. Because better health and healthier communities are goals everyone can support.” (read more)

Modern Language Association

“Throughout the campaign and in the aftermath of the presidential election in the United States, sharp political lines have been drawn that pit groups and individuals against one another on the basis of national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, migration status, ability, class, and other forms of identity. The Modern Language Association reaffirms in the strongest terms possible its commitment to free inquiry and academic freedom for all, unimpeded by acts of prejudice and hate. We note especially the need to offer support to those who are the most vulnerable and condemn the unjust rhetoric that targets them. We recognize that the humanities and humanistic knowledge are now more essential than ever to help guide us in these difficult times, and we pledge to maintain the MLA as an organization open to all individuals who share our commitments.” (Read more)

Natural Areas Association

“With the results of Tuesday’s election, we as natural areas professionals have entered a time of great uncertainty about future leadership, policies and public attitudes. What will these changes mean for us, and what impact will they have on the land we all hold dear? But we feel certain that it is critical not to give up hope. We have too much to protect, and the stakes are too high to become discouraged. We will need to roll up our sleeves and act, perhaps in ways we are not used to, to ensure that natural areas across the nation continue to be funded, protected, and conserved. Here at the Natural Areas Association, we like to say that we are all better together. That’s never been more important to recognize. If we stand united, we can help support each other during these turbulent times, while increasing the impact of our actions. As a professional community, we are united in our passion for what we do, and we must be just as united in our resolve to protect what we value and love.” (Read more)

American Geophysical Union:

In the next few days, we will be initiating a strategy that will have two complementary parts – one that calls on you to be even more engaged, directly and with colleagues in other sectors – and one that will foster stronger relationships between AGU and Congress/the Administration, as well as forge new ones with policy makers,  and partners in the private sector. There is no better time than now for us to join forces with those that share common interests with us and who depend on our sciences, to give voice to the value of science. We must do our best to assure that sound science informs policy outcomes. We have a good story to tell – one that is recognized by many in the private and public sector – and it is an obligation for us all to speak out for science. (Read more!!)

These are just a few examples, and they represent a spectrum of different voices with different tones and perspectives, but in all cases they acknowledge that this election is different, that there is an opportunity if not a requirement to renew each association’s commitment to the things that truly matter to their constituents, and to our society.

If you haven’t written yours yet – do it and make it count. Membership is wrapped up in identity. If a member feels that their association no longer represents them, there is a lot more at stake here than some grumbling about a press release.


(photo credit)

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