Statement on the Killing of George Floyd and Against Institutional Racism

May 31, 2020

We send our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Mr. George Floyd and all those impacted by his death. As a community of medical students dedicated to protecting the health of our patients, we are appalled knowing this is only the latest tragedy of excessive and unjust police force that has taken Black lives, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and many others. We absolutely condemn these killings.

In our training as medical students, we learn that when someone says, “I can’t breathe,” we need to trigger a rapid response. We implore leaders of our communities and nation to initiate the comprehensive reforms and the resource mobilization needed to address the harms and root causes of violence on Black lives. Police brutality is a symptom of underlying systemic racism. We must support our patients and communities healing from this trauma and devote ourselves to counteracting the public health crisis of systemic racism that plagues our country.

At this time, we call on our members and allies to hold our most affected colleagues and patients with empathy, compassion, and love, and to work in solidarity with Black communities. We support the National Medical Association’s call for a national response to police use of excessive force. Information on how we can all take action to combat systemic racism is available here, resources for the Black community processing these devastating events is available here, and information on fundraisers and petitions in support of the Black Lives Matter movement is available here.

At MS4SF, our community is strengthened by the diversity of our members, and we keep justice at the center of our work to address climate change. Our statement of core principles declares: “As medical students, we see how our patients’ health is deeply shaped by social determinants of health, including the environment in which people live. We recognize that environmental degradation has disproportionately harmed the health of communities of color and low income communities. We work in solidarity with advocates for justice and towards solutions that center equity.”

As student doctors, we recognize our voices carry weight. We will continue to raise our voices and take action to end systemic racism because #BlackLivesMatter. We will amplify the messages of communities whose voices are not heard, we will champion just policies, and we will vote for leaders who support a healthier, more equitable future.

Change is long overdue. We will not be silent.

This statement was inspired by the Statements of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM), The American Academy of Pediatrics, The Obama Foundation, and The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

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