A message from ODA President about social injustice

I would like to take a moment to acknowledge those protesting social injustice in our country. We need to forget, for a while, those that are looting and rioting, for many or most are not a part of this. Our Pledge of Allegiance, something most of you hold dear, ends with the words “with liberty and justice for all.” If that is not being upheld and there is not justice for all, then something needs to change.
 
I have thought about what is going on and asked myself what I can do to help and have come up empty. I am only one person. But then I realized that a city, state and country are made up of individuals. Maybe in addition to our government changing its attitude, we as individuals need to examine our attitudes as well. Having grown up white in a small town, I do not have the same experiences as others. I have decided to look at myself, then have a possibly difficult conversation with someone who does not look like me. During this, I need to listen, for it is their reality, not my own, that I need to hear. Then I need to take a long, hard look at myself again and see if it is possible that I have been part of the problem. If so, I will need to make changes. What if we all did this? This problem did not happen overnight. In fact, it has taken about 400 years. So change will not happen overnight either but we need to take those first steps.
 
Last summer, the Executive Committee of the Ohio Dental Association learned about diversity and implicit bias. We spent time examining ourselves and our organization. We now have a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force that is also looking at how we as an organization can learn and grow. I realize that it is in its infancy, but nothing changes unless we start.
 
At the end of the day, we are all dentists. We truly have more similarities than differences. Let’s support one another, for we truly are stronger together.
 
Sincerely,
 
Sharon K. Parsons, DDS
President
Ohio Dental Association