A Message to ASCO Members
We are living in difficult times, and this last week has been the most difficult of all. The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) champions our core values of Leadership, Innovation, Inclusion and Integrity. We embrace diversity of opinions, perspectives, and backgrounds. As health care professionals and educators, we abhor bigotry of any kind, and we are appalled by the blatant racism in our society and violence in our communities. We experience the grief of loss, through the COVID-19 pandemic and through the violence of recent events, and witness that our loss is disproportionately affecting minorities and our colleagues, friends, and family of color.
We need to carry the banner for fundamental change in our society so that people of all backgrounds and experiences, especially persons of color, know in their hearts that we value their contributions, respect their dignity, and ensure that they can count on equal treatment under the law. We believe it is important to witness and confront current events, to speak the names of the victims. In our various communities, we must act to ensure that the senseless killing of George Floyd and many others before him, will be a catalyst to a just and equitable society.
ASCO, in partnership with the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) and the National Optometric Association, has arranged to host a timely, special workshop on diversity in optometric education at the October 2020 AAO Conference. Our national public education campaign Optometry Gives Me Life showcases diverse, exceptional professionals as exemplars to prospective students about how a life in optometry can be fulfilling for everyone. We need to do more. We will do more. But today we mourn our loss of communal dignity and commit to a better, more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future.