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Message from Dr. Jerrihlyn McGee

March 17, 2021

The year 2020 will be remembered for more than the COVID-19 pandemic - it also will be a year that America united to face racism and hate and demand social justice. The CNN article "2020: The year America confronted racism" walks through the moments in politics, policing and culture that led to organized demonstrations and calls for change.

There is still much work to do. Last year, hate crimes against Asian and Asian Americans spiked across the nation due to the harmful rhetoric around the pandemic, and that trend continues. Aggressive xenophobic and violent behaviors towards Asian and Asian Americans have increased 150% since 2019 (data compiled by California State University's Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism).

And even if we are not hearing it in the news, we know that racism persists and affects our Black and African American, Latino, Jewish, LGBTQ+ and other minority communities. Just recently, several student events were hijacked by zoom bombing where the perpetrators displayed hateful speech and offensive images. It is disappointing that someone would sabotage a learning experience like this, but it is reflective of the means to which someone will go to spew hate.

Although we have received no other reports of hate crimes or attacks on our campuses, this is a critically important time for us all to restate our commitment to making KU Medical Center a safe and welcoming place for everyone regardless of race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or anything else that makes you unique.

If you are a victim of a hate crime or if you feel threatened, immediately call the KU Medical Center Police Department at 913-588-5030. Additionally, report cyber racism and hate to the Office of Information Security at 913-588-3333 or email infosec@kumc.edu. We also recommend that zoom meetings require a passcode to join and that meeting details are shared only with those invited or who sign up or register.

Finally, if you need to talk with someone, please consider complimentary counseling. Students and residents can receive free counseling through Counseling and Educational Support Services and employees can receive free counseling through the Employee Assistance Program.

We encourage everyone to be an ally and take an active stance against racism and hate. Learn about the issues and challenges affecting your colleagues and students so you can become a stronger supporter. Sign up to learn about differences and challenges through educational programs planned by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Office of International Programs. Participate in heritage month activities, engage in difficult conversations, and make recommendations for programming and interventions. By forming a strong alliance against racism and hate, we can weaken the power of both. By promoting acceptance, inclusion and equality, we all can learn to thrive together and live harmoniously.

Be safe and take care of each other.

Jerrihlyn L. McGee, DNP, RN, CNE
Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer

Robert D. Simari, M.D.
Executive Vice Chancellor

Last modified: Mar 17, 2021
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