The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is committed to diversity; we value and seek diverse and inclusive participation within the fields of exercise science and sports medicine. The college promotes expanded diversity in membership, involvement and access to leadership. Diversity within ACSM creates a working and learning atmosphere that encourages varied perspectives and an open exchange of ideas. For more than a decade, ACSM has had a strategic focus on diversity, equity and inclusion within its membership, leadership and educational programming. This includes financial support for the highly successful Leadership and Diversity Training Program that establishes a pathway for underrepresented minority members to enter ACSM leadership positions. Leaders elected to the three diversity, equity and inclusion positions on the ACSM Board of Trustees keenly focus on ensuring that all decisions are made with these issues in mind. ACSM committees such as the Diversity Action, Strategic Health Initiative on Health Equity, Exercise is Medicine® Underserved and Community Health and the Minority Health and Research Special Interest Group are attentive to matters of diversity, equity and inclusion within ACSM, around the U.S. and internationally. However, we know there is more work to be done.
While ACSM is an international organization, today we focus on the racial injustices seen historically and in recent weeks with the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. ACSM leaders and members stand together to speak against the crisis of racial discrimination. We acknowledge this problem has existed since the birth of America when this country was built on the backs of slaves. The treatment of black people in the U.S. has improved, but it is not fully equal to that of whites in several sectors of society. Today, by calling attention to this problem, ACSM is committed to a new focus. This is a social justice problem, and it is a public health problem. By determining whether people can safely be physically active, receive proper nutrition, are provided appropriate health care and have access to other basic human needs that should be afforded to everyone, racial prejudice and discrimination impacts each one of us. Regardless of professional expertise, country of origin, age, gender or race, protection of basic human rights is each person’s responsibility. Today, we have the opportunity to face this challenge together and to use our collective experiences and knowledge to make real and meaningful change. We implore every human to go about their responsibilities and every other aspect of their daily lives, making decisions with social justice in their hearts and minds. The future of a pluralistic and just world depends on it!