As the United States grapples with the aftermath of a racist mass murder in Buffalo, NY, as well as other racist attacks in Dallas and Los Angeles, the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved stands in solidarity with our communities and members who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) as well as allies. Though deeply saddened by recent events, we reassert our commitment to affirm our common humanity and create a future in healthcare and throughout our nation free from the destructive grip of racism.
“We must acknowledge not only these murders, but also our need to continually address and put an end to the systemic racism that afflicts our nation,” said Amanda Pears Kelly, ACU Executive Director. “The same root causes—from unconscious bias to overt hatred—that lead to structural racism in care and inequities in health outcomes can also lead to individual acts of unimaginable violence, and however it is manifested, it cannot be tolerated. ACU condemns these murders, and we stand unequivocally against hate and xenophobia.”
The mass shooting in Buffalo is but the latest in a series of attacks motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, including recent shootings targeting the Asian-American community in Dallas, TX, and targeting Taiwanese Americans in Orange County, CA. They are part of a rising trend in racially motivated incidents and hate crimes impacting the Black, Asian-American, and other historically marginalized communities of color across our nation, which already confront significant social determinants of health and barriers to care. Reported hate crimes in 2020 reached their highest numbers since 2008, and Black Americans were victims in approximately half of those cases, according to FBI data; simultaneously, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen precipitously, and a third of Asian adults state that they currently fear physical attack.
ACU honors the lives senselessly taken in the Buffalo mass shooting, including Roberta A. Drury, Margus D. Morrison, Andre Mackniel, Aaron Salter, Geraldine Talley, Celestine Chaney, Heyward Patterson, Katherine Massey, Pearly Young, and Ruth Whitfield, as well as Dr. John Cheng, who was murdered in the recent attack in Laguna Woods, CA.
“Whether we are providers, administrators, or advocates, we must stand with our BIPOC patients and staff and take anti-racist action to rebuild the broken systems and beliefs that perpetuate patterns of inequities and interpersonal violence,” said Dr. Doug Olson, President of ACU’s Board of Directors. “ACU stands ready to help our communities and network to create greater justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in care.”
As part of our mission to establish a robust and diverse workforce to help transform communities to achieve health equity for all, ACU has rededicated itself to supporting the healthcare system in integrating JEDI principles. We invite you to call upon our resources, training, and technical assistance. And we stand with all those impacted by or actively working to confront acts of racism while rededicating ourselves to learning more and taking action to improve our shared future.
“This week reminds us of our shared need to learn and do more, whether by uplifting our own voices as BIPOC providers and patients or by allying with others through cultural humility, inclusivity, and policy change,” said Pears Kelly. “We cannot heal in silence, and we cannot achieve health equity without racial equity.”
About the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved
The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) is a uniquely transdisciplinary membership association uniting clinicians, advocates, and organizations in the commitment to establishing a robust and diverse workforce to help transform communities to achieve health equity for all. Founded in 1996 by participants in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), ACU is the foremost advocate for the NHSC and leads advocacy, clinical, operational, and equity excellence and supports the healthcare workforce caring for America’s under-resourced populations. Learn more at clinicians.org.