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ASA Celebrates Pride Month While Urging Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

1 June 2021 One Comment
Donna LaLonde, ASA Director of Strategic Initiatives and Outreach; Amanda Malloy, ASA Director of Development; and Wendy Martinez, Former ASA President

    “It is absolutely imperative that every human being’s freedom and human rights are respected all over the world.”

    This quote by Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, former prime minister of Iceland, captures the motivation for the new American Statistical Association Pride Scholarship and Pride Month Celebration. As stated in the ASA Statement on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, we recognize our mission, “can be realized only by fully embracing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusivity in all of our operations. Individuals embody many traits, so the leadership will work with the members of the ASA to create and sustain responsive, flourishing, and safe environments that support individual needs, stimulate intellectual growth, and promote professional advancement for all.”

    The creation of the ASA Pride Scholarship is one action demonstrating the ASA’s commitment to this stated goal.

    Help endow the ASA Pride Scholarship! Two anonymous donors are matching all donations up to $10,000 until the end of June. To donate, visit the ASA Pride events website.

    Looking back to 2020, the President’s Corner in the June issue of Amstat News presented an interview with Jack Miller, then chair of the ASA LGBTQ+ Advocacy Committee, and Suzanne Thornton, who was chairing a presidential initiative working group. The following excerpts from that interview provide the context for current efforts.

    Wendy: Jack, you are the chair of the ASA LGBTQ+ Advocacy Committee. I understand the name of the committee just changed. Why was it important to change the name?

    Jack: I am the current chair of the ASA LGBTQ+ Advocacy Committee. Wendy, you’re correct about the name change—that was just approved by the ASA Board of Directors in November 2019. When I joined the ASA in 1997, the name was the ASA Gay and Lesbian Concerns Committee. A few years ago, the name was changed to the ASA LGBT Concerns Committee. It was important for us to update the name to be more inclusive (LGBTQ+, but we aim to include all members of sexual and gender minorities). It was also important for the committee’s name to be reflective of our charges:

    • To support research on statistical issues associated with sexual orientation and gender identity
    • To work to promote equal opportunity in employment and education for all statisticians, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity

    These charges are framed in a positive light, so “advocacy” fits much better than “concerns.”

    Wendy: Suzanne, you are the chair of the working group related to LGBTQ+ concerns that is now focused on my 2020 presidential initiative. How has this group evolved, and where is the group going? What do you hope to accomplish?

    Suzanne: I am leading the LGTBQ Inclusion and Diversity (LID) Working Group at the ASA. This group grew after Emma, Wendy, I, and others presented on LGBTQ inclusivity at consecutive WSDS conferences. With each presentation, we received supportive feedback from attendees who were eager to help us further the outreach of our work. This support has grown into what is now the LID Working Group and a steadily expanding network of LGBTQ+ statisticians and allies. (If you would like to get in touch with us and/or be added to our mailing list [maximum one email per month], please reach out to me or Donna LaLonde.) [Note: the work is ongoing, so please reach out to Donna if you are interested in being involved.]

    We are organized into three overlapping subcommittees. The first is focused on fostering supportive and inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ and other minority groups within statistics; the second focuses on creating opportunities for success and leadership for LGBTQ+ statisticians, specifically; and the third increases LGBTQ+ representation within our field. We have a modest but dedicated group of people working on these tasks, but always welcome more, so please contact Donna or me if any of these topics are of interest to you.

    Cooperating with Jack and the rest of the LGBTQ+ Advocacy Committee, LID is working toward developing ally training, bridging connections with other minority-focused statistical groups, creating scholarship opportunities, and developing a virtual network with an accessible online presence, among other things.

    Now, a year later, the ASA has the Pride Scholarship, which celebrates the diverse backgrounds of LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies and showcases the invaluable contributions and perspectives they bring to the ASA, statistics, and data science. However, your help is needed.

    In collaboration with members of the working group and LGBTQ+ Advocacy Committee, the ASA will celebrate Pride Month while working to endow the scholarship. The celebration will kick off with a book reading by award-winning author Nicole Dennis Benn on June 10 at 6:00 p.m. ET. Benn’s book, Patsy, has been named Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, TIME, NPR, People, The Washington Post, Apple Books, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Guardian, Good Housekeeping, BuzzFeed, and ELLE. Learn more about this and other Pride Month events on the ASA website.

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    One Comment »

    • Jack Schuenemeyer said:

      As a statistician and long time ASA member I a proud that the ASA is sponsoring Pride Month. It is important that we foster a supportive and inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ and other minority groups within statistics; create opportunities for success and leadership for LGBTQ+ statisticians; and increase LGBTQ+ representation within our field. Thanks to all who work hard on this issue.