A Message from Vice Chancellor Navarro for the UCSF Community

Explore resources for engaging in anti-racism work, practicing solidarity, and self-care for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).

Delivered at UCSF Town Hall, Friday, May 29, 2020.

Today I reflect on the pain from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic with over 100,000 lives lost, its disparate impact on minority communities, and the compounded trauma from individual and institutional racism in the US. It has been coined: a pandemic of racism. We have witnessed horrific assaults on the black community, including most recently the deaths of:

Let's say their names:

Ahmaud Arbery
Breonna Taylor
George Floyd
Tony McDade

Now I'd like all of us to close our eyes for a moment of silence to honor and reflect on the loss of life in these pandemics and the trauma to families, loved ones, and our collective ideals of America.

Please join me. [Silent reflection.]

Chancellor Hawgood, thank you for your remarks. I'd like to say a bit more about racism and specifically anti-Blackness.

Witnessing these deaths is triggering and traumatic. It's excruciatingly painful to me personally—and likely to many of you—to contemplate an anti-Blackness, a racism, so deep and pervasive that it leads, again and again, to the violent killing of Black people, as if our lives mean nothing. As if we don't have dreams for ourselves and our families.

I see the violence as a form of domestic terrorism, because it aims to terrorize a group of people, to stunt our lives, to control us with fear, and to limit our opportunities.

Anti-Blackness is embedded in our criminal justice system, our economic system, our educational system, and, unfortunately, our health care system.

It is devastating to us as individuals and to all of us as a society. It results in limited educational opportunities, increased rates of poverty, poor health outcomes—and death.

So, what can we do? Ask yourself – what can I do? We all have a role to play.

At UCSF, we seek to dismantle systemic racism and the impact of bias. We seek to build and nurture diverse health care and science leaders, provide the highest quality of care to all of our patients, and live the full meaning of our principles of community and PRIDE Values.

Our fates as human beings are intertwined. We share a common humanity. We must stand and actively fight together. Change will not come if we remain silent. For in our silence, we are complicit to injustice.

Today, we stand in support of the Black community. We see you, we hear you, and we see (and I feel) your pain and suffering.

We will not allow you to carry this burden, this fight, alone.

We will not be silent bystanders, but instead we will be active allies and partners. And we will remain vigilant to fighting the insidious ways that bias contributes to disadvantages that Black and other minority and marginalized communities face daily. We are stronger together!

For additional resources and for assistance, please visit the UCSF Diversity website, Student Health and Counseling, and the Employee Coping and Resiliency Program (COPE).

Thank you.

J. Renée Navarro, PharmD, MD
Vice Chancellor, Diversity and Outreach,
Chief Diversity Officer,
Chief Outreach Officer