Dear NEOMED Community:
The events of the past few weeks, have justifiably resulted in large scale anger, fear and frustration. This is especially true for our Black community. These events have highlighted the fears that many in our community face every day and the presence of systemic discrimination experienced by entire populations during their lifetimes. As humans we are all naturally different from one another, no two of us are identical. These differences are reflected in our appearance, our mannerisms, our beliefs, and our desires. These differences should be celebrated as they define who we are as individuals and can make us stronger as a collective whole. Unfortunately, all too often these differences are used to segregate, to subjugate and to denigrate others to make one group feel superior at the expense of others. Racism and other forms of discrimination are destroying the fabric of our society and represent a very real public health crisis affecting millions. Unlike COVID-19, these forms of discrimination are under our control and we as a society must make a commitment to eliminate discrimination in all of its forms.
Our NEOMED community stands united to condemn the systemic racism and violence that led to the senseless deaths of George Floyd, of Ahmaud Arbery, of Breonna Taylor and so many others before them. We stand united with millions of African Americans, Hispanics and others who are treated unfairly, prejudged and harmed by those who practice bigotry, racism and abuse of power.
As a University we stand united against hate and racism. We stand for one community fueled by the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion. We must ― individually and institutionally ― do all that we can to structurally and systematically prevent this from happening again. Our actions must be united, and we must demand accountability. We must achieve this through thoughtful, peaceful and impactful measures. The power of our united strength to enact change becomes less effective when we resort to violence. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, has been quoted as saying “Non-violence is not weak or passive. Non-violence is active and aggressive. It is strategic, with an ultimate goal. It seeks true peace which includes justice.”
NEOMED embraces diversity, discourse and critical thinking. We are committed to equality and social justice and we believe we have a moral obligation to train compassionate, culturally-sensitive and patient-centered clinicians and researchers to serve every member of our community.
And while we purport to be all of those things, we want to pause and make sure that you feel ― those things. That you feel safe, welcomed and understood.
The past and present offer us chances to not only reflect and mourn, but to also be better now and do something about who we become tomorrow.
Please look for an announcement regarding a NEOMED Community Zoom forum called Stand Up and Fight for the Safety and Wellness of our Diverse Community.
John T. Langell
Andre L. Burton
Vice President for Human Resources and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Richard J. Kasmer
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, College of Pharmacy
Steven P. Schmidt
Vice President for Research and Dean, College of Graduate Studies
Elisabeth H. Young
Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean, College of Medicine