APBS Statement on Racial Injustice

Dear Association for Positive Behavior Support Members,

The international Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS) condemns the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black lives. We stand united with individuals, families, communities, and organizations across the United States and around the world demanding fundamental institutional change to end systemic racism, police violence, and inequitable treatment of people that have been historically oppressed. We fully support calls to action and protests to specifically and purposefully address racial inequities and the legacy of enslavement in our Black communities, with the ultimate goal of constructive change across our larger communities, locally and globally.

Our APBS mission statement explicitly promotes effective positive behavior support to achieve “equitable outcomes for people, families, schools, agencies, and communities.” Our core values emphasize a deliberate intention to create and support a culture that promotes the quality of life and well-being for all that is responsive to, and respectful of, each person’s human dignity and human rights.

What has this meant for APBS? In 2017, with considerable and deep reflection by the Board of Directors, and with input from our membership and our larger positive behavior support community, we established an ad hoc Equity committee that developed a definition of equity for our organization; collected data on ethnic and racial diversity, underrepresented groups, and access across our organization; and ensured diversity and equity content in our conference and webinar offerings. In March of 2020, APBS engaged in a strategic planning process that resulted in several action steps to further our mission statement and create more authentic representation of the diverse voices of our membership both here in the United States and abroad.

An important recent action that emerged from our March meetings is the addition of a dedicated Ethnic and Racial Diversity Full Board seat to further enhance our organization’s ability to achieve “equitable outcomes for people, families, schools, agencies, and communities.” This motion was unanimously approved by the Board, and this dedicated seat is included in the call for Nominations for this year’s election cycle for the Board of Directors. Candidates for this seat will be announced in the next few weeks, and we believe there is great interest amongst our membership to support this dedicated Ethnic and Racial Minority seat.

This creation of a dedicated, elected Ethnic and Racial Diversity Full Board Seat is not an isolated approach to further advancing equitable outcomes in our communities, agencies and schools. Moving forward, APBS commits to the following:

  1. All APBS Board members commit to a self-study on racial literacy and bias;
  2. All APBS Board members, elected and ex officios, as well as consultant staff serve through an equity lens; and
  3. Anti-bias and social justice content and standards will be addressed throughout all professional development, conferences, publications, and committee work with proposals evaluated for the degree to which they address equity.

These strategies will further ensure that we are meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse membership across the lifespan, and across the globe.

We understand that right now many of us are experiencing strong emotions including anger, fear, and sorrow, and we want to know how to act in a manner that leads to desired, sustainable change. Our collective voice and action through individual member and committee actions at APBS can play an important role in the process of change. We welcome your thoughts, input, and energy as APBS members through general participation and through our committee structures to further enhance our impact and bring about true change and empowerment through our collective action. We stand with the Black community and will do what we can to create a more equitable future through our core values in positive behavior support.

Resources Related to Racial Injustice

Finally, we offer a few additional resources, as we all commit to learning and growing:

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