Taking a stand against racism
A message from Dr. Brian Postl, Dean and Vice-Provost, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.
We are all watching with trepidation what has recently occurred in the United States as a result of the death (murder) of George Floyd. We are witnessing a reaction to prolonged issues of anti-black racism in the U.S. and Canada exacerbated yet again by police actions. This was seen in similar scale in the 1960s and now demands reform in an environment resistant to change.
It is also a reflection of the many social and economic inequalities that we know exacerbate ill health and result in serious inequities in morbidity, mortality and need in marginalized communities in Manitoba and Canada. This has once again been seen with the differential impacts of COVID-19 in many communities.
We know that racism is pervasive and exists in all communities including our own. Discrimination in its many forms (anti-Black, anti-Indigenous, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-2SLGBTQI+) is a fact of life for many in our community, and the historic antecedents that have reinforced these attitudes are many and well known.
We have identified these as key issues to the Rady Faculty and have established several vehicles to try to address them for all faculty, staff and learners. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, Ongomiizwin and anti-racism initiatives have all been established as important vehicles for change to ensure members of our Black, Indigenous and People of Colour communities can learn and work in a safe and equitable environment.
It is only a beginning. We must continue to identify, talk about and mitigate all forms of racism as we move forward. We must condemn and confront these behaviors when they become evident. We must listen to those that are and have been affected. We must be strong, even when it might seem easier to not engage.
In my view, these are all part of the professional responsibilities we assume, and are inherent to the oaths we take as we enter our health professions. Indeed, it is the very fabric of our commitment to our community and to our patients.
As we watch with horror how the politicization of events adds to the anger, resentment and public demonstrations of the same, we must remember that Manitoba and Canada are not immune to the issues. They exist in our country and province in equal measure.
It is time to be watchful, introspective as to our own roles, and forceful in our condemnation.