Illustrated American Sign Language handshapes spelling "ASL". Watch the video above for an ASL translation of this letter

Racism is never acceptable and should never be tolerated.

We grieve with the rest of the country over the racist murders of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25, Tony McDade by Tallahassee police in Florida on May 27, Breonna Taylor by police in Louisville on March 13, Manuel Ellis on March 3 while in police custody in Tacoma, and Ahmaud Arbery on February 23 by armed White men in Georgia. And those are just a few of the most recent.

With the statement, “White silence is violence”, we can no longer be complicit; freezing or hibernating is not an option. As leaders of the Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center (HSDC), we publicly acknowledge these racist acts and are making a public commitment to become an anti-racist organization.

The death of Black people by the hands of police officers is not because of one or two bad apples. It is a result of the denial that White supremacy exists and that is keeping White people from acknowledging or telling the truth. At some point there has to be accountability. We stand in solidarity with Black people, Black Lives Matter, and local Black leaders and we support Black owned businesses today and every day.

Given the nature of our organization, it is our responsibility to do all we can to support the Black Deaf, DeafBlind, hard of hearing and those with speech differences, and we endeavor to be ever stronger in this regard. We have already made changes to offer Power, Privilege and Oppression (PPO) trainings for free to interpreters, inform ourselves and HSDC staff about White Deaf privilege, and have paid extra attention to sourcing materials by Black authors in our childcare and speech services, among other efforts, such as focusing annual board trainings on the specific topic of equity and inclusion.

It will take profound work to dismantle White supremacy, and institutional and systemic racism. We are ready to commit. We must focus on the work of Black activists and scholars to inform our thinking and must do the work in our relationships and our organization to create sustained change. There is no growth in comfort. We must learn to grieve, repair, restore and move forward. This work will be messy and far from perfect and we know that it must be done.

With gratitude and humility,

Lindsay Klarman
Executive Director
Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center (HSDC)

Board of Directors
Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center (HSDC)

Following this statement, we made 11 commitments to making HSDC more equitable. Read the commitments to learn more.