Announcements / 06.3.20

Confronting racism

On Sunday, May 31, amid worldwide protests against racial injustice, Eric Lander sent a note to the Broad community.

Fellow Broadies, 

I am writing about a subject that has been weighing heavily on my heart — and the hearts of many in the Broad community — in the past months, weeks, and especially the last few days.

While the pandemic has revealed many good things in this country (the selflessness of health care workers, the compassion of neighbors), recent events have made it impossible for anyone to ignore many things about America that are deeply broken and desperately in need of fixing.

Among these things, I think none is more important and inexcusable than the pervasiveness of racism — including both structural racism stemming from historical practices and virulent racism stemming from prejudice and hatred.

We see daily how the burdens of the pandemic fall so disproportionately on people of color. 

African Americans and LatinX Americans have suffered much higher rates of infection and death; have less ability to shelter at home because more work in essential businesses; have less ability to access medical care; and now bear higher rates of unemployment in the growing economic crisis. 

And then to watch depraved Minneapolis police officers murder George Floyd in cold blood by compressing his windpipe for eight minutes; to watch racists murder Ahmaud Arbery as he was out jogging in Georgia; to learn of the murder of Breonna Taylor, an EMT slain by Louisville police while in her own apartment.

My heart is breaking. 

I know this combination of pain and outrage is affecting many of you as well.

But, broken hearts are not enough. 

We need to act — to work toward justice. 

None of us can fix it all. But each of us must play a part.

I confess I don’t know fully what to do. And, I know Broadies are experiencing this moment in profoundly different ways.

But, I have an idea of where to begin. 

As the disease of racism spreads, it is not enough to be ‘not racists.’ We must become anti-racists — making a sustained commitment, individually and institutionally, to understand racism in all its manifestations; to call out racism where it occurs; and to take concrete action to build a just country. 

I found these ‘anti-racism’ resources, which are being shared across the country, to be a thoughtful starting point; you might find them helpful as well.

It is also important to take care of ourselves. Broad offers free and confidential emotional support services. I hope you’ll take advantage of them.

With guidance from our Diversity & Inclusion Lead, Brianna Pina, insights from Shades@Broad, and the engagement of Broadies, we will seek ways to support one another, to talk and listen, and to take action together.

My heart is with every Broadie who is in pain this week, and especially our Black and African American colleagues.