ASNNA Statement on Racial Equity
Systemic racism unfairly advantages one group while unfairly disadvantaging other groups. In the U.S., this systemic racism has resulted in both unjust food systems and unjust economic systems. ASNNA believes healthy food access is a right, not a privilege. And while all people no matter their gender, ethnicity, race, class, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, disability or age hold this right, we acknowledge that intentional systems are designed to deprive communities of color and limited-resource communities of equitable access to affordable and healthy food.
ASNNA acknowledges that the flourishing of our communities is a result of positive and adverse experiences, both of which shape resilience. Adversities include childhood, community, historical, and systemic trauma, as well as pervasive toxic stress. Systemic racism and historical trauma are of particular concern, especially among our SNAP-Ed participants, and resilience in the face of these devastating realities is the responsibility of the entire community – including providers and government agencies. Through SNAP-Ed, we have several opportunities to heal past racial trauma and prevent future trauma. First, SNAP-Ed must use direct education to provide positive and meaningful experiences around food and nutritional health. Programs must celebrate racial and ethnic foodways and support development of more meaningful relationships with food that encompass not only nutrition, but also social and cultural factors that research links to healing and repair of historical trauma. Further, SNAP-Ed must leverage research around trauma-informed care to bring healing through nutrition and physical activity interventions designed to both build nutritional health and manage stress. In addition to working with individuals, SNAP-Ed must support racially and socially just policy, systems, and environmental change activities that dismantle racism systems and advance equity through collaboration with funded and non-funded partners working across SNAP-Ed settings. ASNNA looks to organize and create opportunities for learning, while sharing and exploring information about race, health, and social equity to carry out SNAP-Ed-funded work to advance health equity.
To advance equity, ASNNA is taking the following steps:
- In 2020, we developed a Race, Health & Social Equity Committee, which now meets monthly.
- Our 2021 ASNNA Conference focused on equity issues and our 2022 ASNNA Conference has equity as one of its focal areas.
- During our 2021 conference, our Race, Health & Social Equity Committee held one session to highlight implementing agencies that have incorporated equity into their SNAP-Ed plans and another session to hear from implementing agencies about the support they need to incorporate equity into their SNAP-Ed plans. Information from these sessions was used to develop an action plan. We have developed committees related to Civil Right Training, Resource Clearinghouse, Call to Action and Position Paper.
- In 2020, for the first time, we incorporated the collection of demographic information into our Leadership Team nomination application as one way to increase diversity in our governing body.
- Our Bylaws + Policy Committee is reviewing and updating our by-laws and policies for adherence to equity principles.
- During 2021, the ASNNA RHSE Resource Clearinghouse Committee developed a Resource Clearinghouse for sharing resources and materials related to equity, anti-racism, and similar topics. The clearinghouse, which is house on the ASNNA website, also invites submissions on SNAP-Ed plan language around program initiatives related to race, health, and social equity.
- The Civil Rights Training Committee developed recommendations for updating the civil rights training, which will be sent on to FNS following ASNNA Leadership Team review.
- The Call-to-action Committee is coordinating racial equity trainings. The first was held on October 21, 2021. You can find the recording here.
- The Call-to-Action Committee is facilitating a community of practice for ASNNA members to discuss how to embody racial equity principles in programming and organizations.
- The Position Paper Committee is developing a position paper describing how SNAP-Ed Implementers can transform programs and organization to better align with racial equity principles.