Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Work

During the past few months, music therapists have drawn greater attention to the systemic oppression and the many inequities that exist within our national organizations. Music therapists have demanded change. On October 15, 2021 the AMTA Assembly of Delegates passed the following motion, “Move that the membership acknowledges our harmful current system and processes and each of our parts in it, and that current board members and those on the ballot for the next election reflect on their fitness regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice to serve on the board at this time. If they do not feel fit to serve, those members should resign or resign from their candidacy.”

The Music Therapy Association of Minnesota acknowledges that we have never intentionally implemented anti-oppressive or equitable practices. By staying quiet about the inequity within our profession, MTAM has failed our community by not welcoming and supporting all Minnesota music therapists, interns, and students. When George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020, our community experienced horror and outrage. Minnesota music therapists called on MTAM to publicly condemn racism and oppression. MTAM released a statement and a list of action items to move toward anti-racist allyship. We were called upon to do better, and we took that call to heart.

After many months of reflection, MTAM formed a DEI workgroup. Our mission is to “Authentically engage in the process of changing the culture of Music Therapy Association of Minnesota (MTAM) to reflect and include the diverse perspectives and experiences of all music therapy professionals and students in Minnesota.” In July 2021, the DEI workgroup met with Minnesota music therapists who self-identify as members of minoritized groups. We humbly listened to their concerns, and we are grateful for the time and perspectives they bravely shared with us. The DEI workgroup is currently establishing a set of goals and action steps for restructuring MTAM in a more equitable way. Some of our focus areas include:

Governance Review of the entire association to identify areas of improvement
● Diversity, equity, and inclusion processes
● Bylaw revisions
● Identification and expansion of supports/support systems to establish affinity groups for music therapists in Minnesota (members and nonmembers)
● Intentionally building relationships with music therapists in Minnesota
● Reviewing what the current board is doing (i.e. DEI trainings, research, etc.) while also apologizing for what we have not done
● Sharing about the conference, send out a survey, or ask folks to help us create a survey
● Creating and reviewing an open-ended form for continual and anonymous feedback

MTAM is committed to establishing trust with Minnesota music therapists. We recognize that the first step in moving forward is to acknowledge the harm that we have caused. We humbly apologize for not adequately supporting our minoritized music therapists and for the harm our inaction has caused. We commit to providing transparency with our current work and our future plans. We strive to be clear about MTAM’s goals, and we invite the Minnesota music therapy community to hold MTAM accountable to those goals. We acknowledge that MTAM will likely continue to make mistakes, but we are committed to engaging in uncomfortable conversations. We welcome feedback, and we are committed to creating an organization that truly supports our entire Minnesota music therapy community.

As we seek to improve our organization, we welcome your continual feedback. We seek feedback from those currently and formerly connected to the field of music therapy. Please share this form with your current and former colleagues, students, and interns: https://forms.gle/v8ZhqWCqvxCpr2yJ8. As we continue our efforts, we also plan to send a more comprehensive survey to all MN MTs, interns, and students. Please keep an eye out for that survey in the next few months.