Dear Members of the SoN Community,
I write to you today knowing there are high emotions being felt by individuals and communities in response to the jury’s verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd. I feel it deeply myself. I will not try to put into words the complexity of my own emotions. Neither will I try to put words to the way it is experienced by others.
As you experience the feelings that surface in response to the trial or the events of the past year, I hope you will find and offer solidarity and support with others who do the same. The School of Nursing (SoN) recommends active engagement in processing, education, discussion, and action for the UW–Madison campus community, including SoN resources.
The challenges we have faced in the past year have made evident that structural racism is a public health crisis in our country. We have seen its impact broadly in the context of the disparate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we have witnessed it acutely in repeated instances of racist and racial violence against people of color. The systemic injustices that have played out in the past year are not unprecedented in our society or history; they are a culmination.
Looking forward, I hope we will continue to learn and educate with a more just society as our aspiration, letting it fuel our personal and professional advocacy against racism in all forms. This includes structurally, where it is embedded into the systems that must be transformed to realize equity. Once again, it behooves us—as nurses and others who support the profession—to draw guidance from the tenets of the nursing profession. Specifically, I reference our social mandate to protect the public and the ANA code of ethics, which consistently calls on us to challenge persistent inequities and build a culture of health equity.
A just society must include equitable health care systems to meet the needs of all individuals, families, communities, and populations. Nurses will be among those who call for and lead this transformation. I reiterate my call to action to the School of Nursing, our communities, and others in nursing education to have the courage to hold ourselves, each other, and our systems accountable for dismantling racism.
In peace and solidarity,
Dr. Linda Scott
Linda D. Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FNAP, FAAN
Dean and Professor
School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin–Madison