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Our collective efforts during the past 12 months since the tragic death of George Floyd have led to an array of firsts in the diversity, equity and inclusion space that will strengthen and support the mission and vision of our school, our campus and our health system.
“Healing begins where the wound was made.” – Alice Walker
This week, we mark a year since the tragic death of George Floyd. Sadly, this was not an isolated incident, and unrest, conflict and hate have continued to feature prominently in national events over the last 12 months – numerous additional shootings of unarmed Black men and women, the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and the continued targeting of our Asian American and Pacific Islander colleagues as a result of the pandemic, to name just a few.
However, the events of May 25, 2020, also created a national inflection point in our nation’s meandering journey toward justice and equality for all. You don’t have to look any further than our own campus to see how we – with consistently broad input as well as invaluable perspective offered by our students – have leaned into this time of turmoil with the hope of leveraging it to build a foundation for triumph. Our collective efforts have led to an array of firsts in the diversity, equity and inclusion space that will strengthen and support the mission and vision of our school, our campus and our health system.
These efforts are significant, but our work is far from done. Over the coming year, we will continue to build the infrastructure needed to support change and innovation, comprehensively assess the current climate and launch initiatives that foster a culture of inclusivity, appreciation and respect.
Establishing DEI as a driver of excellence requires a belief that it is part of who we are, not a hat we wear or a job someone holds. It is up to each of us to continue to propel our school’s action agenda for DEI forward. Through our collective commitment and concerted effort, the VCU School of Medicine is not only poised to help swing the national pendulum further toward justice and equality but to “make it real” for members of our VCU community and beyond.