Jennifer F. McKinnon
ACUA Board of Directors

Actions speak louder than words and ACUA is committing to making overdue changes to our organization to be more inclusive. ACUA is excited to launch a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Student Travel Conference Award. The Award was created as a result of ACUA’s Antiracism Statement and action items adopted on 22 June 2020. The scholarship will provide $1000 to defray travel costs for a student who self-identifies as diverse. Diversity is inclusive of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and socioeconomic background. More details about the scholarship can be found here.

In addition to the DEI scholarship, a DEI Committee was formed in 2020 to identify actions and broad initiatives that will support inclusion within ACUA and the field of underwater archaeology more broadly. Members of the committee began working on ideas and actions including:

  • Compiling a list of inclusion resources to be shared with the Board and more widely to support our practice
  • Collecting historical data on Board membership to understand the need for diversity and inclusion in the present and future
  • Reviewing Board procedures to ensure elections of Board members creates space for diversity in membership and committees
  • Reviewing Individual and Institutional Associate Membership for more inclusivity
  • Promoting inclusivity professional development opportunities for Board members and devoting time for dialogue around DEI issues
  • Updating the Policy and Procedures organizational document and current statements with inclusive language
  • Working with Individual and Institutional Associate Members to take action and commit to inclusivity more broadly within the field of underwater archaeology
  • Continuing to coordinate with SHA Gender and Minority Affairs Committee
  • Focusing on visibility and transparency of Board actions in social media and on website
  • Developing SHA sessions and panels to present and discuss diversity and inclusion
  • Highlighting projects, programs, and research that contribute to DEI in the field on our social media and website

These are a list of actions to which the ACUA is committing. Admittedly it is long overdue, and it should not have taken national and international responses to recent racial tragedies and cries for justice and change to prompt our actions. As we all become familiar with and commit to moving from actors to allies to accomplices, please reach out to share your ideas and thoughts about how we can make the field of underwater archaeology a more inclusive space. We have a lot of work to do, and each of us has a part to play.

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