Statement from Lifespan Against Racial and Social Injustice

June 2, 2020

Today, Lifespan leadership is issuing the following statement calling for zero tolerance of racial and social injustice:

Our nation’s unrest came home to our capital city of Providence last night. So it is with a very heavy heart and profound sense of anger that we write today—on behalf of all of Lifespan leadership—regarding the racial injustice we have all witnessed over this past week and, quite frankly, decades and centuries. First and foremost, to our communities of color and anyone feeling afraid, vulnerable, and oppressed, we are sorry. We are sorry for what you are going through. We watch and listen with horror to the systemic brutality and racism that we have seen on the news, and some of you have likely been victim of.  We can only imagine your fear – fear for yourselves and for your families. It is unfathomable. 

There is no doubt we are all horrified by the indefensible killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and many other black Americans. We must demand humanity and equality for all people. We must do better. And although there is understandable frustration when peaceful demonstrations turn violent and destructive, there is also understandable frustration that so little progress has been made in this country in the 52 years since Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. 

Our values - Compassion, Accountability, Respect and Excellence - leave no room for racism or intolerance. They leave no room for exclusion, hate, violence or injustice. We have watched the best of our Lifespan team come together to combat COVID and I know that we will come together to condemn evil and work toward a more inclusive humanity.

We chose healthcare as our profession so we could devote our lives to treating, healing, and caring for all individuals, regardless of race, regardless of origin, regardless of socioeconomic background. We must have zero tolerance for any acts – overt or subtle - that are not in keeping with our shared values. 

The recent deaths of African American citizens, and the overt systemic oppression have created a world of hurt, anguish, sadness, and desperation for so many. Angela Davis recently said, "In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist." We are not helpless, and in the weeks and months to come we ask you to work with all Lifespan leaders to find a peaceful way forward out of this darkness.