We would like to believe racism no longer exists. After all, slavery was abolished, the Jim Crow era ended, and the United States elected its first African American president. Yet despite this progress in our country, the killing of unarmed African Americans continues. Today, our hearts are broken, and we stand in solidarity with our faculty, staff, students, and alumni in denouncing systematic racism, hate speech, and bigotry. The painful issues surrounding race and racism continue to plague our country and our University, and we struggle to make sense of recent tragedies that have shaken us.
The UNC Greensboro School of Nursing will not tolerate any form of racism, whether explicit or implicit. Nurses are regularly ranked as the most trusted and honest profession in the U.S., and we must use our highly regarded profession to stand against racism as vigorously as we advocate on behalf of our students and our patients. We must be committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which is why the School of Nursing has them a major part of our mission, vision, and strategic plan. We are committed to working to address issues of power, privilege, and inequality in our school for faculty, staff, and students. We each play a role in combatting racism and ensuring inclusion, including helping each other identify situations and behaviors when they occur.
The School of Nursing initiated our first efforts last week with forums to start the difficult conversation about racism and inequity with all our faculty and staff members. While we were unable to gather as a group because of the coronavirus pandemic, we met over Zoom and spent several hours sharing our experiences, our fears, and our concerns for one another. We gave everyone an opportunity to be heard. These forums, though emotional, are only the beginning for us.
We will initiate further review of our school policies and procedures. We will review our curricula to identify ways to expose students to and teach about equity, diversity and inclusion. We will continue to educate our staff and faculty on racism and how to combat it. This is especially important as we see the collective pain in our community and how COVID-19 has unmasked the consequences of disparities in healthcare and economic systems for minority communities.
We know that many of you are angry, grieving, in pain, fearful, confused, and exhausted. We understand. We will be sending additional information in the next few weeks and throughout the fall semester about listening meetings, resources, and efforts to connect with each other in dealing with these difficult issues. Our efforts to address this issue in the School of Nursing will bring opportunity and responsibility. Please reach out to the School of Nursing leadership team, faculty, staff, student leaders, and each other with questions, concerns, support, and innovative ideas.
We hope we can use the recent tragedies to come together and acknowledge our hurt and pain at the profound injustice we see in our world today. We also must stand together and call out racism whenever we see it. We hope you will join us in being the type of change agents that the world needs right now.
— The UNCG School of Nursing