"My heart is laden with grief"
Dear SCNM Community,
My heart is laden with grief and concern for the future of our country. During a time that cries out for healing, instead we have senseless killings, followed by protests. The killing of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer wasn’t an isolated incident. His death, and the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia in February, are but two examples of ongoing hostility toward Black Americans.
SCNM is a school of medicine and health sciences that teaches to examine each patient in depth to diagnose the underlying disease. Focusing solely on the symptoms only palliates the disease, or worse, suppresses it.
The recent deaths that sparked this week’s protests are symptoms; America’s history of racism is the disease. This disease’s history, physical exam and laboratory findings are clear – 246 years of legal slavery, followed by Jim Crow laws, 4,084 lynchings, government sanctioned ‘redlining’, and disproportionately applied incarceration rates (contrast the firmness of the War on Drugs with the compassion towards the Opioid Epidemic). This is not a moral indictment of Americans in 2020, rather a diagnosis based on American history.
SCNM is a community that promotes healing grounded in evidence-based science. I challenge each of us to help heal our country physically, mentally, and emotionally. This starts close to home – by peacefully communicating with classmates, colleagues, and co-workers from different and similar backgrounds to ask, “How are you feeling in this stressful time?” It also compels each of us to look inward and examine our own biases, open our hearts, and confirm our convictions. Healing begins one person at a time, one step at a time.
Be that person, take that step.
Paul Mittman, ND, EdD
PS, I welcome your feedback, thoughts and look forward to next steps in opening lines of communication and healing. We are exploring collaborations to expand on this vital dialog – more to come.