A Statement on Racial Injustice & Inequality

Dear Students, Residents, Fellows, Faculty & Staff:

In this past week, many of us have been shaken with the unspeakable tragic death of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old black man detained by police in Minnesota.  We, too, the Office for Inclusion and Diversity, at the Long School of Medicine, felt anger, sadness, frustration, confusion and fear after watching the video of Floyd’s death, which has been widely circulated on social media and in the news. This unfortunately is not the only case- we have also witnessed the unarmed deaths of Michael Brown (Missouri), Tamir Rice, a twelve-year old (Ohio), Walter Scott (South Carolina), Antonio Zambrano-Montes (Washington), Anthony Jose Vega Cruz (Connecticut), Alton Sterling (Louisiana), Breonna Taylor (Kentucky), Anthony Baez (New York), Philando Castile (Minnesota), Aiyana Jones, a seven year old (Michigan), and now George Floyd.

Studies document that witnessing high-profile cases of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement affect the mental health of African Americans, symptoms of trauma are exhibited after race-based trauma. Nothing will be resolved until there is systemic change throughout our nation, not just in law enforcement, but in health care as well. Minorities have decreased accessibility to healthcare and receive lower quality care as well (refer to IOM 2002 report). There is an abundance of research documenting this reality even during a global pandemic—black, indigenous, and Latinx individuals are disproportionately impacted by the burden of COVID-19 disease and death.

We recognize that many in our community are hurting, especially people of color. We hear you. We see you. We share your pain. We reaffirm our commitment to reject injustice, xenophobia, and violence anywhere, but especially here at the Long School of Medicine.

We also recognize the importance of having someone with whom to share the sadness, anger and pain. Each of us respond to experiences of trauma differently. On Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 4:00pm the Office for Inclusion and Diversity will hold a “Collective Healing Virtual Roundtable” for any member of the Long School of Medicine – faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows – to process their feelings and experiences in relation to this topic. Please click on the link to join. If you need someone individually to speak with please contact UT Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for faculty and staff, GME Wellness for residents and fellows, or Student Counseling Center.

Dean Hromas fully supports efforts to improve equal treatment of all, without regard to race, religion, gender or any other aspect of diversity.

 

In Support of Becoming Better,

The Office for Inclusion and Diversity