The killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police officers and Ahmaud Arbery by vigilantes this past year resulted in a global Black Lives Matter movement that now offers the potential for permanent change in systems and policies. This opportunity to address systemic racism, bias and health care disparities in our society has, in turn, resulted in a need for more education and discourse.
In June 2020, the School of Dentistry launched a series on Race, Anti-Racism and Racial Healing (RARH), led by a facilitator from Pathforward Consulting. This series was supported by the Dean and all five academic Department Chairs. Events in this three-part series included a Listening Session on RARH and presentations on Impactful Allyship and Next Steps Charting the Path Forward. We also offered Safe Space Dialogue sessions for students, staff and faculty.
These virtual activities allowed our community to further engage by sharing thoughts and videos, and by lending their voices to the conversation for change. Initial feedback included comments such as “Grateful to our school for launching this series,” “Thankful to work in a place where all voices are heard and valued” and “We need to have more events and opportunities like this.”