The AHA Board of Directors has carefully reviewed the open letter released by five former leaders of the AHA Social Justice Alliances pertaining to the current search for the new AHA Executive Director. The Board thanks the six Social Justice Alliance leaders who recently resigned, as well as those who continue to serve, for their generous service to humanism and the AHA.
While members of the Board have direct knowledge of facts that contradict a number of claims in the letter, the Board recognizes that members of a significant constituency of the organization are expressing deep concerns about fundamental aspects of the organization’s processes and practices, and we wish to respond accordingly.
The AHA Board takes seriously any specific complaint made about any Board member or any individual associated with the AHA and reviews them for proportionate action. The Board has determined that the aspects of the letter that target specific Board members are not such that specific Board action directed at them is warranted.
The Board is initiating an institutional review of the AHA to be led by an outside expert on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The review will involve the participation of all stakeholders at the AHA including membership, Board, staff, adjuncts, affiliates, and programs. The Board will transparently communicate results from the institutional DEI review to all AHA stakeholders at its conclusion.
The Board understands that the increased emphasis on social justice at the AHA and the evolutionary transformation of a decades-old organization into an antiracist institution is a difficult process that began years ago and will continue into the future. The Board is committed to equity and inclusion, and is diverse, including feminist, immigrant, Black, LGBTQ, and Latinx members. Even so, we understand that institutional transformation involves living with growing pains and other challenges, as elements of white supremacy culture continue to be dismantled. We are committed to overcoming those challenges, progressing steadily, and continuing to be a leader in the humanist movement when it comes to promoting social justice.