(The following was part of a letter written to the AcademyHealth Disparities Interest Group, April 14, 2021)
Dear AcademyHealth Disparities Interest Group members,
This has been a difficult week and it is only Wednesday. You have committed your research and careers to the study of disparities in health and our health systems. I know many of you shoulder multiple other responsibilities in your organizations and communities, in advancing health equity. This week, many of you are being asked, directly or indirectly, to continue with your work as normal. I am writing to affirm that this is not normal but unfortunately is normalized in our society. None of us should accept the ongoing murder of Black people, whether state-sponsored or state-sanctioned, as normal, even if we are forced to confront it regularly in the United States. We can honor their lives and our own, by giving ourselves and those around us acknowledgement and space for Monday’s tragedy. For those who want to learn more about what you can do to support antiracism efforts locally and nationally, I encourage you to read past IG chair Prof. Rachel Hardeman’s statement from the Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity.
Maybe this week we take a pause on doing, on writing, on producing. For some, this is the time to rest and find our communities of support. As I have said before, though we are a small interest group of an organization, we see you and we will continue to be here for you.