I received a response from Caitlin, one of the planners behind the Healthy Living Summit, concerning my previous post. Here is what she had to say, in it’s entirety.
My name is Caitlin and I’m one of the planners of the Healthy Living Summit. I wanted to take a moment to respond to your post, which I feel like makes a few valid points but is also missing a LOT of background information.
The panel for the Healthy Living Summit was formed by six bloggers who are highly active in the blog community and know each other personally. The panel was NOT selected by Stonyfield or another company. The panel consists of 6 bloggers with a large readership base and the clout to get monetary sponsorship from companies such as Stonyfield.
As I mentioned, the panel was simply formed through e-mail discussions between the 6 of us about how fun a Summit would be. There were not 2 original panel memebers who selected the remaining 4. The selection of the 6 panel members was organic and based on our familiarity with each other already – i.e. no one said sat down and said “we need a vegetarian,” “we need a runner,” or “we need a dietician.” Furthermore, even if there had been a selection process like that, we certainly would NOT have based decisions on a person’s skin color.
I hope this satisfies your questions. I feel like it is doing a disservice to Stonyfield and the hard work the planning committee has put into the Summit to make such assumptions about the event.
I personally feel that all people should have accesss to health care information and everyone should feel welcome in our healthy living committee.
Firstly, I apologize for making the assumption that Stonyfield chose the bloggers, when in reality, it was the other way around. I think it’s great that the Summit developed in such a natural way, and I agree with your mission.
However I stand behind many of the statements I originally made. I never stated that the organizers of the Summit intentionally left out minorities, and even men for that matter, but that is the result. Caitlin stated, “no one said sat down and said “we need a vegetarian,” “we need a runner,” or “we need a dietician.”’ However, if the panel realized that they didn’t have a dietitian or a runner, would they have made steps to include that omission? By organizing the Summit,Caitlin, and the other bloggers, are putting themselves out there as experts on the subject, and with that comes great responsibilities.
Caitlin stated that ” I personally feel that all people should have accesss to health care information and everyone should feel welcome in our healthy living committee.” I’m glad she feels that way, and I hope that in the future organizers of the Summit, and other similar conventions, will put those words into actions and make steps to include a more diverse panel.
This is something that I feel passionately about, as obesity and the side effects of bad diet and lack of excercise, are hitting minorities harder then the rest of the population. I feel that given these fact, being more inclusive is pretty much a no-brainer.