Taking a Stance Against Discrimination
NASPA’s core value of Inclusion stands as a testament to our commitment to social justice and non-discrimination. Currently, the state of Texas allows discrimination against the LGBTQ community in the areas of child welfare, foster care, and adoptions. When the Freedom to Serve Children Act was passed and signed into law in 2017, our leadership paused to reflect on the commitments we had already made to present the 2020 NASPA Annual Conference in Texas.
The NASPA Board of Directors weighed the decision whether to withhold ourselves from a state that had legalized a harmful and unjust policy of discrimination, or to take a stand against this injustice and use the powerful presence of our community and seize the opportunity to raise our voice in solidarity with those affected by this law.
Much like other organizations who have faced similar challenges, NASPA’s leaders struggled deeply with the question of would we choose to speak with our absence or speak with our presence? Ultimately, it was unanimously decided to chose the latter, and we invite you to come demand for equitable and inclusive practices and laws with our colleagues in Texas. We must use the strength and passion of our NASPA community to support our student affairs and higher ed Texas colleagues who oppose these laws, in particular our colleagues from the LGBTQ community.
The Conference Committee and NASPActs leadership will be organizing ways that you can take action during the conference to show your commitment to equity, inclusion, and social justice. We hope you will join us and carry the NASPA values loud and proud with us to Austin for #NASPA2020. If you have ideas about how to live our values or are interested in learning more about NASPActs, please reach out to the NASPA's AVP for equity, inclusion, and social justice, Monica Nixon.
Another consideration…and action plan
Due to HB 3859 in Texas, California does not allow state funds to be used to travel or conduct business in the state of Texas. We knew that we could not move forward without a plan to also support our colleagues in California as well. To serve that end, we are pleased to announce that the NASPA Connected Conference will be held at San Jose State University simultaneously with the NASPA Annual Conference. We are working diligently to ensure our colleagues in California have the opportunity to present, network, and learn together, as well as connect virtually to the best content streaming live from #NASPA2020.
The Call for Programs for the Connected Conference will opening in early July, with more details becoming available at that time.