Dear Consortium Colleagues, Students, Alumni, and Friends:
America is at a crossroads. We stand in the midst of two public health crises, one that came upon us suddenly and another that America has created and recreated for four centuries. Police brutality and COVID-19 have both claimed and are claiming black lives at horrifying and unacceptable rates. What differentiates these crises is that, unlike the appearance of a novel coronavirus, our society has chosen to tolerate racism and other structural inequities that we know create serious short and long-term threats to health and well-being. This can no longer stand. We can and must work to eradicate the racist mindsets, laws, policies, systems, and practices that endanger communities of color.
We are proud to see so many of you, our colleagues, students, and friends showing up, speaking out, listening, and taking action. We stand with you in grief, anger, and sadness. We also feel a renewed sense of resolve and hope.
Last fall, the Consortium embarked on a journey to review our mission and vision. We met with many of you over several months and heard loudly a desire to more explicitly center health equity in our work and fully leverage the power of the legal and health professions to ensure that every individual is born, grows, lives and ages in health, security and well-being. Our collective feeling was that, as public institutions of higher education, UCSF and UC Hastings have a responsibility to address structural inequity in our legal and health systems and to train the next generation of leaders to advance and defend health and social justice.
This mission feels more urgent now than ever, with a more explicit commitment to naming the forces that create structural inequities and injustice, starting with racism.
We know there is anger, grief, despair, and exhaustion. We feel it too. But we also know this is the beginning of a long process during which we must draw upon the hope, resilience, and the sense of justice that powers this community. The Consortium commits itself to this work together with great resolve. We also know our responsibility starts at home. At the Consortium, we are reflecting on ways in which we can do better at amplifying historically marginalized voices in our work, our teaching, our events, and in our leadership team. We invite you to join in this reflection by sending us your thoughts. We stand ready to listen, and ready to dedicate our resources to solutions.
The times are uncertain ahead, but we are grateful for this community and for your work. Together, let’s make it clear that enough is enough.
Sarah Hooper, Executive Director
Jaime King, Assistant Dean & Faculty Director, UC Hastings
Dan Dohan, Faculty Director, UCSF