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Silence Maintains Injustice in Nutrition and Dietetics

If silence is defined as the absence of sound, how can silence be so loud?

Quiet is often associated with “acceptable” behavior in the face of conflict. But what if I tell you remaining silent in the face of injustice facilitates oppression? What if I told you neutrality makes us complicit in the same manner?

This is especially true if you are in a position of leadership.

If you are able to facilitate change, looking the other way or choosing to simply scratch the surface of an issue, makes it more difficult for those directly experiencing trauma and/or desperately fighting to stimulate change.

To effectively lead in nutrition and dietetics – and the IAND – it is vital we seek opportunities to support the oppressed members within our organizations and the communities we serve.

*It is important to note – silence within an organization does not mean an organization is running smoothly. Instead, it can signify that members of the organization do not feel comfortable voicing their experiences of trauma. Have you asked your constituents how you can support their cause?

Remaining silent in the face of injustice makes our stance clear: If we are not fighting with, we are fighting against. To be socially responsible, we must take accountability for past retrogressive policies, actions, and behavior – on an organizational and personal level.

Ways you can take accountability:

  • Learn about silence within white supremacy culture

  • Embrace discomfort to thoroughly consider feedback and continue learning to address your own biases.

  • Use your voice to take a stand against discrimination and other forms of injustice by directly addressing those causing trauma

Instead of shying away when facing contention, let’s welcome it and dig deep to figure out the root cause of the issue. Otherwise, we will never move forward. Let’s reflect on what we are fearful of. Why does the progress of underrepresented groups intimidate us?

The IAND has the opportunity to be a prime example of taking a bold stance in rejecting silence, taking accountability, and fighting injustice. Instating and expanding the IDEA Committee and potentially elevating the IDEA Chair to a voting position paves the path to justice for every organizational member and the communities we serve.

Let’s not occupy a position of leadership and fail to live up to it. How will you rally behind those advocating for change?

Written by Vanessa Pérez (she/her), IDEA Student Representative

Edited by Allie Lansman (she/her), IDEA Chair


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