The path to equity is a journey, not a destination. I am here to tell you that this crossing may be uncomfortable at times, however, the International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) is deeply committed to walking it together, with you, our members and the lactation support community. Progress on this passage will be marked by increased access to our profession; when all families experience skilled lactation care.
We have taken initial steps down the path. Building on the work of the Equity Summits, we are continuing to assess the barriers in lactation, deepen the skills of our staff, members, volunteers, and board, with the skilled support of equity consultants Dr. Adrienne Coleman and Traci Ellis, JD.
In response to your positive feedback and requests, the training they provided at #ILCA18 is available as a webinar. We hope that you will join us for their next training, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: Implicit Bias. You can access it by clicking HERE.
We continue to seek additional ways to make access to member benefits equitable to all. Our pricing is structured to make being a part of ILCA within reach for more lactation professionals around the world. The virtual conference provides up-to-the-minute information for those who are unable to join us in person. This year, our marketing efforts will include an American Sign Language (ASL) greeting aimed at engaging our deaf community.
Thanks to your generous gifts to the ILCA Benefactors program, we provide membership and conference scholarships to those impacted by social, economic, or political hardships.
Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, (R.O.S.E.) whose amazing work has transformed breastfeeding support across the southern United States (where our upcoming conference is located) and our partner, the National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color (NAPPLSC) have both been awarded scholarship offerings for the upcoming #ILCA19 conference with the aim of bringing those from marginalized communities into our sphere.
And we hope you will join us at #ILCA19 if for no other reason than to hear the influential Dr. Camara Jones speak on Achieving Health Equity in Breastfeeding: Naming and Addressing Racism and Other Systems of Structured Inequity.
Still, ILCA submits, we miss the mark. Frequently. As lactation consultants, we know that babies need a deep latch to effectively transfer milk. As a community, we need to commit to go deeper still in our equity journey to transform biased norms.
Finding ways to untangle inequity is tough and ongoing work. It requires us to humbly reexamine the way we show up in the world, “our ways of being,” and then be willing to make course corrective actions. We need to deconstruct what have been our organizational norms. Our Safe Space policies apply not only to our conference, but to our board meetings and on-line spaces.
One strategy we will employ to dismantle our old, inequitable ways of being is by having multiple means of hearing from you about what we get right – and what we get wrong – as an institution and a profession.
We need you. At last year’s conference, we talked a lot about how we are #bettertogether. Hearing from you will help us “step-up” our pace on the journey to becoming a more just and equitable association.
Soon, you will receive two different surveys seeking your feedback. The first, from Dr. Adrienne Coleman and Traci Ellis, JD, seeks to build on our knowledge of barriers to the profession and to care. The second one, from the Equity Committee, seeks your feedback on what tools and resources ILCA can provide to make its programs and services more equitable, and to increase access to the field for families and professionals.
Do you feel called to walk closely with us on this journey? We are currently seeking volunteers to serve on our Equity Committee. This committee works together to ensure that ILCA is culturally inclusive and welcoming to all members, which furthers the practice of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) on an organizational level and in the skilled lactation care profession. You can access more information by clicking HERE.
There is a long and arduous road ahead. I’m up for the challenge. And, from my place of leadership, I can assure you that ILCA is as well!
As I have shared in the past, one of my greatest desires for my time as President is that you, our members, feel deeply heard. To echo your voice, it is vital that I know how you experience joy and what challenges you face in your daily work. Moreover, how can ILCA better support you through our core values? You can email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.