Striving toward a better future
As a community rooted in science, facts and critical thinking, we must raise a collective voice against the injustices and violence aimed at African-Americans and people of color across the country. Since the establishment of our nation, Blacks and African-Americans have been subjected to slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws, lynching, discrimination and racism, a terrible record that our society must acknowledge and confront. This racism is, unfortunately, deeply rooted in American culture. We must intentionally take it upon ourselves to change the world through our actions, words, writings, relationships and teachings, one person at a time. We must also take it upon ourselves to analyze our own communications, actions, thoughts, and deeds to assure the current status quo is forever changed.
With a united voice, we must speak up against racism and work to rebuild a new culture, one based in equality, justice and humanity, and settle for nothing less. Throughout history, there have been moments that have changed all that followed. Think of Rosa Parks who refused to give up her seat in the ‘colored section’ of the bus after the ‘whites only’ section was filled and with quiet defiance struck a chord of resistance against segregation that resonated through the nation and fueled the civil rights movement. This time feels like such a historical moment.
As a community, we are at a crossroads where our words and actions will make a difference to eradicate racism forever in our culture. We must not be colorblind, but embrace our diversity, speak out for injustices and be unified in pursuing peace through inclusion. We must recognize and take actions that acknowledge Black lives matter.
As a department, we pledge to take steps to mitigate the injustices done to the African-American community and hopefully usher the way to a better future. An initial step will be to host a town hall with Joel Bolling, the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the BSPH, to explore diversity and equity issues and discuss viable ways to progress forward. In addition, MMI commits to creating a seminar series that provides a forum for speakers from African-American and other under-represented minority backgrounds to discuss topics of science, public health, and equity. We will redouble our efforts to increase diversity in the MMI community from faculty to students and combat any act of racism in our midst. We will provide a platform for our students and postdocs to voice their concerns over racism. We will listen; but most of all we will raise our voices as one.