Working Together for Change. A Message from the Dean.
Message originally sent June 4, 2020
Dear Parkinson Family:
I’ve been trying to put into words the many emotions I’ve been feeling these last several days as I watch the news unfold, view videos, read perspectives, and talk with colleagues, family, and friends.
I feel great guilt and pain. Racism is wrong. Social injustice is wrong. I am humbled when I hear the experiences of others traumatized and so negatively affected by racism or other institutionalized forms of other-ism.
Yesterday, I re-read an article written several years ago by Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones:“Levels of Racism: A Theoretic Framework and a Gardener’s Tale.” It discusses racism through a public health lens. It proposes a framework for understanding multi-level effects of racism on health: institutionalized, personally mediated, and internalized. I encourage you to read – or re-read it – as one way of making sense of today’s turmoil.
Whether you study, teach, or work at the Parkinson School, you have been called to help “right” some of the many institutional “wrongs” that have become part of this country’s fabric.
I welcome your feedback and ideas on what real change looks like for us – or your thoughts on how you are bearing witness at this moment in time. I want our school to be a catalyst for good. We will be convening a Town Hall meeting on Monday 9:00-10:30 am in order to promote dialogue within our school. An email with the Zoom information will be forthcoming.
Today, I encourage you to participate in a prayer and reflection service from 12:00-1:00 p.m. through the Institute for Pastoral Studies. The service will provide a moment of reflection, stillness, and renewal for the journey ahead, for the anti-racist work each of us must continue within ourselves and together for our University. Immediately following, we will hold an open community listening session for HSC students, faculty, and staff, from 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Through our collective work, we will gather the moments of this time and create momentum for real change.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Elaine Morrato, DrPH, MPH, CPH
Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health