On June 4, at a rally for racial justice on the campus of Stanford Medicine, we knelt in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — reflecting on George Floyd’s last moments on Earth. Like so many others at Stanford and across the country, we are feeling crushed by the gravity of his murder at the hands of police who were sworn to protect and serve. The heartbreak is only compounded by the senseless killings of so many other Black people before him. We cannot carry on like this, nor can our society. Collectively, we cannot breathe—not until meaningful change occurs. Black Lives Matter.
As the three leaders of Stanford Medicine, we come to this time of tragedy, unrest, and reckoning with a pledge:
We will not be silent.
We will use our influence to effect change.
Today, we say that enough is enough.
Racism and discrimination in all its forms are a direct affront to Stanford Medicine’s most cherished values; they have no place in our society. But that is not the world we live in. Systems of racial oppression and inequity remain deeply entrenched in America — a reality that Black people know all too well. Every day, they bear the enormous weight and human cost of these systems.
As health care professionals, we recognize that this problem is not solely one of policy or culture, but of public health. It is all the more reason why we, as an academic medical center, have a responsibility and obligation to apply our resources and talents to uprooting racism wherever it exists.
We acknowledge that the first step is to look inward. To state these principles, while necessary, is easy. Real change will come from action. We don’t yet have all of the solutions, nor do we pretend to, but we are ready to listen and to learn. Working with Black leaders across campus and the country, we pledge to partner with you on accelerating the changes that are so desperately needed.
To the members of our community who have already reached out to share feedback and guidance — thank you. We are here, we are committed to change, and we vow to uphold anti-racist values in partnership with the Black community.