Dear Columbia Mailman Community,
I am deeply pained as, yet again, anti-Black violence has demonstrated the continuing racism, discrimination, and hatred faced by communities of color in our country. Our hearts and thoughts are with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and their families, friends, and communities.
Every person has a right to dignity, safety, wellbeing, and health. These incidents, which are just the latest in a long line of anti-Black violence, demonstrate how far we are from ensuring those basic rights to all individuals. As a public health community, we know that anti-Black violence is an epidemic, and we must develop solutions to end it. The devastating impact of COVID-19 on communities of color has also laid bare the legacies of health inequities and injustice experienced by communities of color in our country, which are rooted in our history of slavery and upheld systemically throughout our society.
As public health professionals who teach, research, and live the social determinants of health, we must do the hard work of individual and collective examination of racism, whiteness, and white privilege in our own School and beyond. Last year, we commemorated the 400th anniversary of the arrival of more than 20 Africans in Jamestown, Virginia who were sold into bondage with a critical exploration of the legacy of white supremacy, which continues to persist in our world. The educational, research, and administrative leaders of the School are committed to taking action to confront this legacy and be part of the solution. In the coming weeks, you will hear more about our continuation and expansion of our efforts.
In this time of grief and outrage, please know that our community is here for you. Resources are available, including remote emotional and mental services at CUIMC and Morningside, the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of Diversity, Culture, and Inclusion, and Religious Life.
If you are feeling vulnerable or have questions about how to support and stand in solidarity with members of our community, please reach out to Dr. Raygine DiAquoi in the Office of Diversity, Culture, and Inclusion (email@example.com).
I am also sharing University Life’s message, below. We stand with our colleagues across the University to denounce these acts of hate and violence.
Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH
Dean and DeLamar Professor of Public Health
Mailman School of Public Health
Senior Vice President
Columbia University Medical Center
Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine