Issued June 2020
Say their names.
Eric Garner, Ezell Ford , Michelle Cusseaux, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice, Natasha McKenna, Walter Scott, Bettie Jones, Philando Castile, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, Eric Reason, Dominique Clayton, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks.
Now reflect on how these names represent only a tiny portion of the violence that black and brown communities have been subjected to in the United States. We must come together to dismantle white supremacy. Silence is not an option.
American society is built on systematic racism. This oppression is not a mistake, it is explicit and purposeful. Though some progress has been made, racism continues.
Western medicine is founded on the principle of “first, do no harm” and attracts those called to heal, but it is not immune to racism. Progress in medical care and research has long been at the expense of marginalized people. The brutal practices of J. Marion Sims, the shockingly unethical Tuskegee Experiment, and the disregard for individual consent surrounding the case of Henrietta Lacks are examples. While some reforms have been established to address these events, dramatic and very real healthcare disparities still exist. According to an analysis from the Center for American Progress: In 2017, 12.6 percent of American African children had current asthma compared with 7.7 percent of non-Hispanic white children. 42 percent of African American adults over age twenty suffer from hypertension compared with 28.7 percent of non-Hispanic white adults.13.8 percent of African Americans reported having fair or poor health compared with 8.3 percent of non-Hispanic whites. The list goes on…
What can we do to be a force for good? How can we join the effort to dismantle a system supported by over 400 years of white supremacy? We must first look to challenge our own perspectives, examine white privilege, listen to previously ignored voices, and change what we can. iTHRIV will begin our evolution from silence, to a strong and clear anti-racist voice.
In an attempt to affect positive change where we can, iTHRIV proudly stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and will commit to the following:
Mentor early career medical professionals to recognize and confront implicit bias in their everyday interactions.
Support minority led medical research teams and continue to fund community health focused seed grants.
Continue to engage with community voices, understand what is important to them regarding their health and their needs.
Bridge the communication gap between community and health researchers through facilitated collaborations and online resources; helping to empower marginalized communities to become health advocates.
Examine all iTHRIV programs through an anti-racist lens.
The above actions represent the first steps in a new life journey dedicated to anti-racist action. We at iTHRIV are committed to listen, to learn, and to evolve towards a future of equity.