June 2, 2020
To the Dalla Lana School of Public Health community,
The deaths of Regis Korchinski-Paquet and D’Andre Campbell and the violent deaths of Black people in the United States are tragedies that only re-enforce the undeniable impact of structural anti-Black racism on health. I am writing to express my profound shock and anger with these tragedies and to make it clear that the Dalla Lana School of Public Health denounces anti-Black racism and all forms of racism and prejudice.
Police violence is a public health issue. It has an immediate impact but it also has a profound and long-term impact on stress, mental health and other social determinants of health in too many communities today. This is the result of decades-long failure to build equity and inclusion and to address the underlying social determinants of health. I also know that I speak for the entire School when I say that we condemn anti-Black police violence and all other forms of structural anti-Black racism.
I want to express my deepest sympathy and solidarity with our Black faculty, staff, students and alumni. I know that these recent events are having a direct impact on you and your loved ones’ well-being. Please reach out to me directly if there are any supports we can offer during this challenging time.
Over the past few years we seen some collective advancement in diversity and inclusion at the School but there is undoubtedly more work to be done. Over the next few weeks, I will be working with members of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health community to identify tangible ways we can use the strengths of the School to reduce anti-Black racism and oppression more broadly within the School and across our society. I am proud of the research and teaching that our community has led on equity but we need to commit now more than ever to the role of advocacy as a core pillar of the School.
We stand in solidarity against all forms of anti-Black racism in Toronto and beyond. We are committed to the structural changes needed to ensure health and lasting change for all.
Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown
Dean, Dalla Lana School of Public Health