Statement on Structural Racism

On behalf of the IGHS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, we, the committee members, want to express our outrage at the recent (publicized) events of police brutality, racist attacks, and murders of Black people in this country. We emphasize ‘publicized’ because we are aware that this brutality has been ongoing for hundreds of years, and only when it is brought to our attention via social media/video recordings, does it get national attention. The devastation that this brings to Black communities on a constant basis is horrifying. This incident once again has magnified the structural racism that continues to exist in our society, as we have been witnessing how Black, Indigenous, and LatinX communities have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is no longer enough to acknowledge and state our outrage.

It is time to consider the ways in which we can all be active and impactful allies for Black people on a daily basis. We each hold intrinsic biases that have been ingrained in us since birth. In all of us. Identifying and examining our biases is a first step. But there is much more that we can do as individuals and as a community.

We encourage all of our IGHS community to:

  • Take a moment and do some inward soul-searching: what unconscious biases might you hold towards Black people? Take the unconscious biases test:

After identifying your biases, think about ways to change these biases. Here are some resources for you to read: White Fragility, How to Be an Antiracist

  • Think about what specific systematic changes you want to see happen to dismantle systemic racism? We live within a racist system, designed by policies and practices resulting in the exclusion or promotion of designated groups. Identifying and examining your role in this system is also critical to understanding how you can be a catalyst for change. These can be changes within our workplace, in your community and circle of influence, nationally and globally.

After identifying them, make a list of action items that you will take to address them.

  • Become an ally in this struggle right now. Allyship includes educating yourself, educating others who are in positions of privilege, supporting/encouraging Black communities and Black leadership, initiating action to change individual and institutional actions and policies, etc.

The IGHS DEI Committee is dedicated to promoting dialogue regarding racism in this country and places we work globally. As public health workers in an elite academic setting, we have a mandate to help break down the health disparities that we observe and to be mindful of the ways in which we may inadvertently perpetuate those disparities. We have a lot of work ahead of us, and collectively we can make impacts that reflect our PRIDE values as an institution. This journey will be intense and uncomfortable, but we can choose to embrace vulnerability during these difficult times. One thing that is clear: we cannot and must not be silent in this moment. We all see the devastation and the havoc that these injustices wreak on the entire Bay Area community and beyond. Change is the responsibility of every one of us.

Please reach out to one of the DEI committee members to share your ideas on specific steps we can all take to dismantle structural racism. Our committee is working closely with other committees across campus and with the Office of Diversity and Outreach to combine our efforts to catalyze change. We are committed to finding the appropriate avenues for communication and collective movement building that galvanizes us forward in these moments of uncertainty, pain, and grief. Thank you in advance for your willingness to self-reflect, take action, and lean into the discomfort.

In solidarity,

The IGHS DEI Committee

  • Lucia Abascal
  • Purba Chatterjee
  • Ingrid Chen
  • Sun Cotter
  • Madhavi Dandu
  • Heidi Frank
  • Usma Khan
  • Saehee Lee
  • Eliza Love
  • Johnson Lyimo
  • Mohsen Malekinejad
  • Mike Reid