Just as the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the persistent racial inequalities that severely disadvantage Black people in the United States, the recent killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers, are tragic reminders of the systemic racism and injustices faced by Black people in our criminal justice system and broader society. We in the Department of Environmental and Global Health stand in solidarity with the millions of protesters who have gathered and continue to demonstrate peacefully on campus, in Gainesville, around the US, and the world. We support them in their call for long overdue change in the systems that serve to preserve white privilege and perpetuate racist acts of violence. We also join calls for new policies that bring systematic changes in policing that will eliminate police brutality and bring restorative justice to those most affected.
Institutional racism also influences and perpetuates environmental health disparities. With our extensive training and expertise in environmental health sciences, we are also acutely aware of the significant environmental inequalities that disproportionately impact Black communities. As a Department, we are committed to fostering environmental health research and training that addresses these inequalities. We do this through our core diversity and social justice tenet, our commitment to recognize and encourage voices seldom heard, and an authentic engagement of individuals and communities. We will take a hard look at our own behaviors and practices so that we continue to improve our curriculum to include diverse perspectives, make concerted choices to rebalance the diversity of leadership, and challenge individuals and institutions when their words or policies do not suffice. We stand together, united in our allegiance, to racial, social and environmental justice reform.
Dr. Tara Sabo-Attwood on behalf of the Department of Environmental & Global Health