Black Caucus Statement on Anti-Black Racism and Police Violence

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The Black Caucus, the collective Black-African Diaspora, and many allies are heartbroken following the inhumane killing of Mr. George Floyd on May 25, in Minneapolis, Minn. Sadly his light was not the only to be lost by the ongoing crisis of police violence that targets the Black community. We also mourn the loss of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery (GA), Ms. Breonna Taylor (KY), Mr. Tony McDade (FL), Mr. David McAtee (KY), and others. As a community, we extend prayers to the families and the bereaved.

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a grim milestone of over 100,000 deaths disproportionately impacting the Black community, there is also a pandemic of racism, inequality, and discrimination in this country and around the world. These events compound the historical racial traumas endured from the Maafa through the present day. Birthed from the struggle of the Civil Rights Movement, and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Black Caucus at UCSF was founded in April 1968. While not formally bound to the Jim Crow laws in the south, Black staff at UCSF were relegated to separate and unequal working conditions which led to the “Janitor’s Strike of 1970."

Fifty years after the “Janitor’s Strike of 1970,” Black-identified individuals at UCSF comprise approximately 3% of the faculty, 5% of the student body, and 8% of the staff: a collective of fewer than 2,000 people across an enterprise of over 27,000. Fifty years later the Black community at UCSF reports ongoing profiling at UCSF, lower employee engagement scores, and challenges with professional advancement. Fifty years later the Black community continues to suffer from ongoing disparities in health access, education, and employment.

To members of the Black Caucus and the Black community at UCSF: We see your pain and hear your cries for change. We recognize that you shoulder more burden during this time as many of you serve as keystones for your families and extended communities, are engaged in essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are being tapped to give of your Black excellence to soothe and educate others - all without recognition that you, too, are grieving. We hope that shedding light on this burden will humanize the expression of grief, that often looks like showing up even when you want to call out, a luxury that is rarely afforded to Black pain.

While appreciated, messages of solidarity to Black lives must be combined with commitments to sustained actions and accountability for change. Such commitments must call for:

  • Diagnostic precision in naming the problem as White supremacy, racism, and sanctioned police violence;
  • Attention to the intersections of anti-Black racism, police violence, racial trauma, and systemic racism across our mission in education, research, and patient care;
  • A comprehensive plan with accountability to bring about racial equity for our Black- identified learners, residents, staff, faculty, patients, and community members across all departments and locations within our organization;
  • The centering of Black voices in this work that is performed in a manner that disrupts the traditional structures of hierarchy and White supremacy culture.

If you have submitted said message without actionable steps, we encourage you to revise and resubmit.

We call upon UCSF Leadership to:

  • Distribute this letter by email and mail to all Black-Identified community members; Develop a transparent campus-wide plan of action with accountability by engaging in dialogue, sharing existing data, and collaborating with the Black Caucus and other campus entities committed to ending White supremacy, uplifting Black lives, racial equity, and health justice;
  • Invest financial and personnel resources in existing groups that support the Black collective;
  • Develop a process to include the Black Caucus and other campus entities in the hiring process for high level administrative (Chancellors, Deans, etc.) and (C-Suite) leadership positions across our schools and hospitals.

Please note that this is an initial letter. Following community-led racial healing and resiliency sessions, the Black Caucus will be hosting dialogues for our members to further identify specific action items.

To join the Black Caucus at UCSF please send email to: [email protected]

The Black Caucus at UCSF
Est. 1968