“I can’t breathe.” Those words resonate strongly for many Black Americans and do as well for those working in healthcare. In healthcare, those words often spur action to save a life. With those words, Student Health Services mourns the killing of George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, and many other Black Americans, and we stand with the racial justice movements working to prevent the further loss of Black lives.
The Black Lives Matter movement and the current covid-19 pandemic continue to emphasize the public health crises brought about by systemic racism and racial injustice. Black and Brown communities have a higher burden of infection and death from covid-19 and other diseases and are at increased risk of experiencing institutional violence. Systemic racism underlies both of these disparities. Black lives matter. Black voices must be heard.
Student Health Services recognizes that to fully support the health of our students of color at Mason we must move beyond only cultural and linguistic competency and take a more active role to support movements for racial equality. Student Health Services commits to using a framework of racial justice to examine our own procedures and initiatives as we work toward creating a culture of inclusion and trust.
We commit to listening to the voices and hearing the experiences of Black students and underserved students. We will be vocal and active in conversations and movements that support the Mason Black community.
We will continue learning about social, economic, and environmental conditions that put Black students and students of color at higher risk of disease, violence, and negative health outcomes and take action to address those disparities in our practice. We will identify and address our own privileges and implicit biases that could harm students and our patient interactions. We will do the hard work needed to create an environment of trust and inclusion.
-Student Health Services