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by Callie Castro, KCSAE President

My heart is heavy as I write this letter to you on behalf of the leadership of the Kansas City Society of Association Executives.

We are in the midst of a colossal upheaval of society right now with a trifecta of events taking place simultaneously: the COVID-19 pandemic and its health ramifications, massive unemployment and its economic impact, and racial injustices being brought further into the light and its societal implications. These are challenging times to say the least, and we, as association professionals, find ourselves in a unique position to not only champion our members and industry but also our communities and association colleagues. We have been called upon over the last 3-4 months to work, meet, educate, network, and support one another in ways that we never would have imagined when 2020 began.

Today, we find our nation and community in crisis following the incomprehensible killing of George Floyd. There is no place for racism in our society. We must stand with our neighbors and friends of color and raise our voices for social justice and reform. We must use this as an opportunity to take action and change the narrative.

Earlier this week, ASAE President & CEO Susan Robertson addressed the ASAE Community and shared the following, “We need tangible commitments from our nation’s leaders to address racial inequalities once and for all, but every one of us needs to do the work, to identify, challenge and change the values, structures and behaviors that perpetuate systemic racism.”

KCSAE is committed to being an inclusive society that values the voices and rights of all members. We will move forward together to find solutions that bring forth equity within KCSAE and our community. We will also work to bring additional programming and resources to our members. We call on our KCSAE colleagues to join in this commitment to address racial inequity.

Below is a link to a webinar on June 12 courtesy of ASAE. I look forward to this dialogue and want to make sure you are aware of this free educational opportunity. It will be a discussion that thoughtfully examines our national heartache.

“Exploring Anger, Frustration and Hopelessness: From COVID-19 to George Floyd”

We are also able to participate in the June 18 DC Idea Swap Session at no cost, led by former KCSAE member and past president, Trevor Mitchell. This presentation is designed to help you understand diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), your role in DEI change, and the positive DEI actions can have on your association. “Diversity and Inclusion Start with You”

The whole world is calling out for understanding, for unity, for leadership, for dialogue, and for action to improve the quality of life for every human being on this planet. It is incumbent upon all of us to engage in honest and meaningful discussions about how to make our associations, including KCSAE, more inclusive and welcoming. We must support and listen to one another, come together more than ever (albeit virtually), work to be a positive change in the world, and lift each other up.

This is certainly a difficult and painful time. When times are tough, communities come together. KCSAE is your local association community.

We value you and are here for you.

Your voice matters now and always.

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