We are confronted today with a world, our world, that is scarred. The horrific killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd shocked us to our core. They should not have.
Racism has existed in our land since before we became a nation, sometimes glaringly evident, sometimes under a thin veil. We can talk about the progress society has made over the years, but we cannot deny the simple truth that bias in so many forms, and none more powerful than racism, is alive and well in America today.
Black lives matter. To some, perhaps not so much. The black faculty, students and staff in our community and on our campus are reminded of that atrocious reality every day.
On top of racially motivated violence, the COVID pandemic with increased mortality rates for people of color has shone a very harsh light on what we’ve long known about health inequalities for minority populations.
Our country is divided, and the forces tearing at us are dividing it further every day.
What does that mean for us, here, now, in our community and on our campus?
We have not been ignorant of these realities. We have built programs for learning, training and dealing with racism and a host of other very real issues of bias. But are we doing all we can? The answer is most certainly not. Action is required to ensure lasting change.
We should and we will expand on programs that already exist.
We should and we will explore new programs, broader ideas that you and we may discover to help us to move forward beyond what we are now doing.
I, along with every member of the leadership of this campus, am prepared at any time to hear those ideas. That door is open and it will always be open.
This campus has a very special calling. We do what we do because we are called to serve humanity.
We serve all regardless of race or ethnic identity.
We serve to provide care, improve lives and find cures.
We serve to educate and light the passion of future caregivers to provide that care.
We serve to explore and find breakthroughs that benefit all and erase inequalities.
We serve communities locally, regionally, nationally and even globally.
Hate and discrimination in any form has no place in any of those missions. No place in our words. No place in our deeds.
We don’t have all the answers, and we’ve never been more aware of how much work we have to do to find them. But we do have among the brightest, most talented and committed faculty, students and staff imaginable, and with them, no problem should be insurmountable. With the same innovation and drive that you bring to this campus every day, we can tackle injustice. We are committed to listening, learning and working as hard as we can to ensure that CU Anschutz is leading to solutions.
Please join me in that commitment, because without it we have nothing. Our very humanity is at stake.