Mather, M.E., C. Moffitt, M. Fabrizio, D. Parrish, B. Penaluna, B. Brown, S. Nesbit. 2022. Diversity and inclusion: a strategy to implement change for 2021 and beyond: symposium summary. Fisheries 47(1):28-34
Human diversity is as essential to the effectiveness and survival of professional organizations as fish diversity is to the function and sustainability of aquatic ecosystems. To accelerate the progress of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) towards diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), ten presentations and a group discussion provided context for our present efforts and suggested opportunities for synthesis that can enhance future successes. An introduction highlighted the value of coordinating existing strengths. A temporal perspective encouraged intergenerational teams to build on past achievements. Contributions of the Equal Opportunities Section, recommendations of the AFS DEI standing committee, citizen science educational programs, and the structure provided by historically black colleges and universities are existing strengths on which AFS can build. Although addressing power-differentials and institutional constraints are challenges, individuals have personal power to implement change. Furthermore, enhancing diversity can make individuals more successful, help professional teams solve difficult problems, and enhance AFS’s effectiveness in resource conservation. Taking a long view temporally with a wide lens across within-society specializations, this symposium highlighted the advantages of a framework to coordinate ongoing activities as a component of a longer term strategic plan.