ILA Position Statement Denouncing Racism

Dear ILA Members and Friends,

As is the case with many in the US, and, indeed, the world, your ILA Board is saddened and heartsick over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis by police officers who took an oath to protect and serve the people. Anyone who saw the horrific videos of Mr. Floyd’s last nine minutes of life cannot help but be moved by the image and sounds of yet another Black man saying he could not breathe. Floyd’s death is an example of the failure to listen to our brothers and

sisters who face barriers some of us never dreamed of let alone experienced. Over the last few days, we have witnessed protesters in America and around the world joining together to incite change regarding police brutality, social injustice, and other systemic forms of discrimination experienced by Black Americans and people of color. ILA stands against all acts of the violation of basic human rights and social justice. Words cannot adequately express our feeling about the egregious, subtle and often hidden biases that people of color experience at the hands, words, actions, and failures to act of others.

The number of people of all walks of life who suddenly realize the need to listen to each other strikes a chord with ILA Board members. Racism and its corrosive impact on the world is a critical issue, one we must address. For every step forward we take three steps back in racial and social relations. The daily cable news and social media provide examples of both appropriate and inappropriate responses to the atrocity of yet another Black person killed because of the color of their skin. It is impossible to know another’s experience. What we can do is listen to them share their experiences to better understand them and the effect of those life experiences. We can then work together to find ways to honor their experiences. There are many concerned people whose responses show us their compassion and concern. Many, from world leaders to celebrities, to athletes and artists have a unique platform and have addressed the need to be an agent of change and to listen and not speak, or to only speak when we’ve really listened.

Members of the International Listening Association Community join celebrities, citizens, and world leaders in solidarity against racism. The ILA Board is committed to listen to our brothers and sisters who are affected by social injustice and attacks on their human rights. ILA explicitly denounces systemic racism, oppression and the violent acts that took the lives of so many and traumatized the world. As such, the ILA Board is committed to listening to all who are affected by social injustice and attacks on their human rights. We will continue to seek answers to these social/human rights issues and find ways to be part of the solution and eliminate the problems.

Together, we can stop racism and make the world a better place for all people where discrimination in all its vile forms is eliminated. We, as listeners, must help ensure that all marginalized people are heard, felt, and understood. One day we may be able to change the statements of “No one listens to us” to avowals of “We now listen to each other.” The Board will soon announce initiatives to further these goals.

Be safe. Be well.

ILA Board Members (June, 2020)

Lori Joubert, Melissa L. Beall, Chris Bond, Peter Forbes, John Backman, Sandra Bodin-Lerner, Krishna Naineni, Kathy O’Brien, Gayle Pohl, Nanette Johnson-Curiskis, Margarete Imhof, Erica Lamm, Nicole Bodin

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