Structural Racism and Inclusive Excellence: Time to talk and planJul 20, 2020
George Floyd was murdered two months ago. At the time, I wrote:
“As the Colorado School of Public Health, we ask again what we can do as a community and as individuals to change these root causes of poor health. Research on the topic is abundant and confirmatory that racism harms health through many pathways; the path to change is not more research, but using what we already know to affect change. Evidence-based advocacy is needed, but many of the pathways to action have long been blocked. This is also a time for conversation within our school’s community about what we can do to dismantle systemic racism. To that end as a tri-campus community we need to engage in honest conversations and action to be part of long-needed solutions (e.g., policy changes and practice). There are no easy answers to solve the issues of injustice and racism in our society. However, we owe it to our community to demand change and accountability. To be silent is to be complicit. We stand in agreement with the American Public Health Association that racism is an ongoing public health crisis that needs our attention now!”
Now is the time to start an ongoing discussion about our school and structural racism, equity, and inclusive excellence, looking internally and externally. Our strategic plan, completed in the fall of 2019, covers much that is needed, but a new urgency has been added by the inescapable and spotlighted consequences of structural racism and the visible inequities of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a starting point a draft plan, Our Plan for Dismantling Structural Racism and Advancing Inclusive Excellence, will be discussed during a Town Hall event on Wednesday, July 22. The plan builds on the strategic plan, but adds steps in implementation, including the addition of a new position, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We will focus internally at the start, while looking for points of leverage externally for ColoradoSPH.