Dear members of the UF neurology family,
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has served to highlight numerous inequalities in our country this past year, placing in even starker relief the historically unequal treatment of marginalized and minority groups in our society. The events of this past Tuesday in Atlanta with the killing of 8 people, 6 of whom were women of Asian heritage has come after over a year of increasing violence against Asian communities. This violence must be acknowledged for what it is; these acts are hate crimes against those of Asian backgrounds and the flames of historical discrimination have been fed by incredibly damaging and harmful rhetoric during this ongoing pandemic. The statistics regarding hate crimes targeting Asian communities around our nation this past year are daunting, and the pain this surge in violence has caused must be acknowledged.
We are proud to have many people in our department of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific-Islander background, and even more in our extended department community as friends and loved ones who are of Asian descent as well as many other races and ethnicities. We acknowledge the fear and uncertainty that these events may have caused amongst us. For those of you feeling vulnerable in the wake of these attacks, know that you are not alone. We are here with you. If you have any concerns for your personal safety or others around you, please reach out to any of us. If anyone is in need of counseling or support, please remember that resources are available at Health & Safety – University of Florida.
As always, merely acknowledging the horror of such events is not enough. We must work to address discrimination wherever it arises, and there is no better place to begin than our own home. The Diversity Council is actively drafting policies to address discrimination against staff and healthcare providers in our own clinics and within the hospital. No such policy currently exists within UF and we hope that by drafting such policies we can address incidents as they arise within our own department, help those in our department feel safe and secure in their roles, and serve as an example to the rest of the UF community in this important work. Please contact the Diversity Council if you have any suggestions as they work on this policy.
Lastly, again a thank you to everyone for all that you do. Please continue to support one another during these difficult times after what has been a challenging year in innumerable ways large and small. Our department is strong because of the wealth of backgrounds from which all of us come, and the connections that we all have with each other. If you see someone else in the department experiencing discrimination, speak upon their behalf. It is only by acknowledging and addressing these incidents when they happen that we can make way for change and make the world a more just and equitable place for all of us.
The UF Neurology Diversity and Inclusion Council