Thank you for your email. The PMA has been at a crossroads and I now feel we have identified our path forward. We are committing to taking actionable steps to create an environment where every member feels they belong.
Jennifer Hudson has been retained to assist with our communications and we are in the process of finalizing the engagement of a DEI consultant who will help us to re-form the board and hire the leadership necessary to move the organization toward our goal of real inclusivity.
There will be more information forthcoming this week about concrete plans and actionable steps. The PMA will provide updates on a regular basis assuring transparency in all areas of the organization.
I do hope that one day in the not to distant future, you will submit an application to join in sharing your gifts with the community at a PMA conference.
Thank you again for contacting us.
Jo Ann Graser, NCPT
President, Tensile Strength Studio & Barrington Yoga Loft
President, PMA Board of Directors
My reply 1/25/21:
Thank you Jo Ann Graser very much for your response.
I am aware that the PMA was initially founded on fighting the trademark lawsuit to prevent insularness of the Pilates community and displayed principles of inclusion by celebrating Kathy Grant, Lolita San Miguel, Ron Fletcher, and Mary Bowen’s work directly in conferences. I understand that the PMA was able to hold the space well enough for the political divisions of classical/contemporary to not be so divisive in recent years to keep membership only to one side or the other. I understand why PMA sought to create a 3rd party certification so that the profession of a “Pilates Instructor” would rise to the same professional standards that doctors, lawyers, nurses, massage therapists and many other professions require in order to practice their services. The PMA did many great things, but it had a major blindspot that was now exposed.
Now is an opportunity for your organization to be held accountable and right the ship on race relations, or decide to pass the ship (meaning the knowledge and experience of offering all the infrastructure you did since 2000) off to new inclusive leadership, rebrand and implement successful new infrastructure that updates the national organization to 2021 political awareness and action. That includes openly denouncing white supremacy and not sugar coating it with equity and inclusion statements. Extremist thought can not be ignored, for ignoring it is tolerance of it.
I think the steps you are taking are in the right direction, but as you may agree, it is not up to white people like me to decide if these steps are welcoming or not to the Black Pilates community. That is up to the Black Pilates community to decide. I would recommend reaching out directly to upset teachers in the Black Pilates community for suggestions on how to heal this hurt as they will be able to answer that question best.
Thank you for being in conversation with me.
Mariah P. Sotelino, Owner & Educational Director
Learn the Art of Teaching Movement
Pilates Teacher Training Programs and Workshops