June 18, 2020
Dear BME community,
We have all seen the tragic outcomes of the inequitable and brutal treatment of members of our nation’s Black community. In recent days, you may have read statements from university and school leadership addressing this topic. We felt it was important that you also hear from us.
The protests in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Baltimore’s own Freddie Gray Jr., and so many more Black Americans reflect a just outrage at the persistence and prevalence of our nation’s centuries-old, deep, systemic racism.
Hopkins BME stands in support of the protestors, and of the Black Lives Matter movement. We are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment built on the foundations of empathy, social awareness, and respect. We support our Black students, fellows, faculty, staff, and alumni, and we should not and will not accept racism, racial bias, or discrimination in any form.
We realize that we have work to do, and that we cannot wait for the actions of other people and organizations. We ourselves must lead the effort to change our culture and make progress. We must start by educating ourselves on the racial disparities that exist in America and in academia; we must reflect upon and confront our own racial biases; we must ensure that all voices are heard; we must identify ways to support our Black community; and we must take action. It is our responsibility to listen, to learn, to do better; to do the work that is needed.
Tomorrow is Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery. President Daniels has called for the university to close at noon, for us to reflect on the significance of that day, and to look forward to the positive and essential actions we will take. We encourage you to spend this time—as we will—learning more about the racial injustice that persists in our country and in our academic institutions. Our Black students, fellows, faculty, staff, and alumni colleagues know and have experienced this injustice all too deeply, and it is important that we are all educated about their lived experience. We have compiled a list of resources below.
On the morning of Juneteenth, BME faculty will meet to share resources and discuss ways to effect change in our department. We realize that this is only the first step in a long process. Our goal for this meeting is to develop an initial set of concrete actions—and accountability measures—that we can take to better support our Black community members and to be more anti-racist. We are committed to holding ourselves accountable for meaningful and sustainable action, and will share our next steps and updates on our progress with you over the coming weeks and months.
We must and will engage in active dialogue with all members of the BME community, and through this, expand and refine our list of actions. We must stand up for racial equality together, as one BME, and commit to taking an active role in anti-racism in our programs, in our institutions, and in our lives. To our Black students, fellows, faculty, staff, and alumni, your pain matters to us. Our doors are open, and we encourage you to share with us your personal experiences with racial injustice, as well as any opportunities for growth and change.
We hope that you will join us as we commit to supporting the dignity and rights of all. Thank you for helping us ensure that Hopkins BME is a safe and welcoming place for everyone in our community to learn, grow, and innovate.
Michael I. Miller, Bessie Darling Massey Professor and Director
Alexis Battle, Committee for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
Kathleen Cullen, Committee for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
Jennifer Elisseeff, Committee for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
Warren Grayson, Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs & Committee for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
Jordan Green, Undergraduate Program Director
Eileen Haase, Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies
Feilim Mac Gabhann, PhD Program Director & Committee for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
Jeffrey Siewerdsen, Vice Chair of Clinical and Industry Translation
Web Stayman, Master’s Program Director
Raimond Winslow, Vice Chair of Academic Programs