We were thrilled when Chevese Turner and the organization she founded—Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA)—joined forces with NEDA in 2018 to increase inclusivity in the eating disorder field. We have been so thankful to watch NEDA begin to center marginalized eating disorder populations by amplifying the voices of fat, black, brown, trans, queer and disabled people. Center for Discovery has been a proud supporter of NEDA as they evolved their mission to be more inclusive and diverse.
With the news of Chevese’s and Joslyn Smith’s separation from NEDA, we will be opening a conversation with NEDA to ask some hard questions that we are simultaneously asking ourselves. As a treatment center, we are at the beginning of this work, and as a sponsor we want to ensure our missions are in alignment:
How will NEDA champion diversity, equity, and inclusivity? How will decisions be made that center the most marginalized among us, so that eating disorder treatment can be safe for all bodies? How will NEDA ensure their values align with recent calls for change, and that the organization will meaningfully commit to continued growth, accountability, and structural evolution? We know that valuing inclusion does not exclude those who are normally centered within the eating disorder community (i.e., people who are thin, white, cisgender, feminine, able-bodied) but instead makes treatment more accessible—and safer—for all. How will NEDA reflect this truth? How will NEDA join us in our push to be better?
While we await a dialogue with NEDA, we are committing to the following steps to ensure our mission remains at the forefront of our existing collaborations with them:
- To honor BEDA’s mission of Weight Stigma Awareness Week, we will add the hashtags #EatingDisordersAreASocialJusticeIssue, #BEDAForever, and #EndWeightHate to our WSAW posts.
- For all the virtual NEDA walks that Center for Discovery has already sponsored, we request that NEDA include speakers with identities that are normally marginalized within the eating disorder community.
- We will postpone renewing our 2021 NEDA sponsorships until we are certain that their values align with Center for Discovery’s values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and advocacy.
We want to acknowledge our own journey as a treatment center and the ways we have, historically and to-this-day, harmed clients in marginalized bodies. We cannot call in NEDA without calling ourselves in as well. There is much work to be done, and with Chevese and countless other activists in mind, we are committing to being transparent about our own process to answer the questions we outlined above.
On behalf of the whole Center for Discovery team,
Aaron Flores, RD (he/him) – Senior Coordinator of Weight Inclusive Care
Vaughn Darst, MS RD (he/him) – Senior Coordinator of Gender Affirmative Care
Deandra Christianson, MA, LCPC, CCMHC, CDWF (she/her) – President, Eating Disorder Division