Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at

InstituTe of Thai Massage-USA

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At the 2018 annual Thai Massage Gathering, we did something a bit unusual. We created a Diversity and Inclusion statement to apply to the Gathering in future years, as well as something we could each use or adapt for our private practices. We started with Rose leading a discussion about the need for and benefits of diversity in many forms, and how to foster inclusion and overcome obstacles to change. Then we (consisting of about 50 attendees, pictured above) broke off into self-identified ally groups to brainstorm issues relevant to different groups (such as gender, people of color, disability, economic discrimination, ageism, emotional diversity). Each group wrote up a few keys points, and we combined those into a statement reflecting our collective goals to be inclusive and respectful. We've chosen to adapt it slightly for use as a guiding principle of ITM-USA. Some of these points are long-term goals that will require more time and logistics to implement (such as a scholarship fund for regular classes, although we have implemented one for the Gathering, see the Donate button at the bottom of the page). Read it and see what you think. You are welcome to use, adapt it, or do a similar process to create your own statement to reflect your values or the values of your business.

We apply these principles to ITM-USA as a whole: 

In support of fostering a healthy community, we affirm our desire to create a space where everyone who comes feels welcome and included. Our presenters and instructors are committed to open, inclusive teaching with humility and sensitivity to the power dynamic. Specifically, we embrace the following principles:

  • We hope to share responsibly and to do no harm. We strive to cultivate friendliness, joy, generosity, and compassion, and we value all participants as human beings and as members of our community. 

  • We choose to embrace and celebrate our differences and similarities by harmonizing the unique notes of our diverse colors, cultures, languages, and legal/immigration status. 

  • We seek to embrace all learning styles, comprehension levels, and abilities. We also strive to accommodate the needs of any person with any physical, visual, auditory, mental, and/or learning disability. Please inform the director of your specific needs or requests. 

  • We wish to provide a safe space for people coming from diverse emotional backgrounds, such as introversion, anxiety, and depression, as well as newcomers to this community. We will take action to make each person feel valued and welcomed, and meet each person at their desired level of emotional interaction.

  • We will be inclusive and respectful of participants of all ages, to learn about the needs of different age groups, and to make accommodations when needed. Families and young learners are welcome. Please inquire about possible accommodations to meet your needs. 

  • We will endeavor to respect people’s preferred pronouns and to use non-sexualized language. We will not tolerate any form of sexual misconduct or harassment, and we will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, or sexual orientation.

  • We understand the importance of consent. We ask that everyone acquire verbal or written consent before making physical contact or taking photos or videos. Our intention is to uphold appropriate boundaries that reflect respect for ourselves and each other. 

  • We encourage everyone to participate regardless of their financial situation, and we are committed to working on solutions to provide financial accessibility to our trainings. (Inquire about work-study, gifts in kind, trades). See the Donate button below.

We hope that all of our class participants will join us in taking responsibility for creating and maintaining a respectful and inclusive community environment. Thank you, and we appreciate your support for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community.

Inspired by a statement made by the Insight Meditation Society on Sept 28, 2017, with specific additions from participants in the Thai Massage Gathering on Apr 27–30, 2018.

Donate to the Thai Massage Gathering Scholarship Fund