March 28, 2017
Like many of you, we, the faculty at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, have followed the recent actions by the Trump administration. Divisive tactics and anti-intellectual rhetoric have led to executive orders against historically disadvantaged communities that threaten our domestic and international affairs, placing our dear country and its residents in danger.
Considering the travel ban, gag orders on federal agencies, budget cuts on community-serving national departments and agencies, increase in deportations, limiting access to online information via the White House website, and the most current attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, it is clear that the current administration stands against all American values of freedom, inclusion, and diversity. Many foreign nationals come to the United States in order to obtain degrees, to teach, to conduct research, and to participate in the free exchange of ideas. As a result, the educational community is uniquely affected by these decisions.
As an institution founded out of both a demand and a need to correct racial/ethnic injustices, we stand in solidarity with those affected and those advocating for civil rights. The faculty, staff, and students of CDU have origins in countries throughout the world, including countries directly affected by the travel ban and the extended hate crimes resulting from the multiple executive orders. Our research at CDU engages advocacy and social justice pedagogy in order to inform wellness and equity, rather than inhibit progress. Our teaching methodologies demand access to opportunities for historically disadvantaged communities and train our students to be advocates in improving community wellness. We recognize the invaluable contributions to our community by all of our students and colleagues in furthering our efforts to address racial/ethnic disparities in health and education in the United States rooted in a social justice framework. It is only through diversity that American values are achieved.
CDU is continually enriched by the diversity within our ranks and as CDU faculty we affirm our commitment to resist any efforts that would threaten this diversity. We ask and expect members of the CDU community to seek out ways to continue to embrace that diversity.
“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty”
Our civil rights and national security are threatened by executive orders and anti-intellectual rhetoric rooted in discriminatory practices favoring a few over the masses. We arrive at a critical moment in our nation’s history to demand solidarity and unite across all of our differences as a people. We will ensure to continue our commitment to scholarship that contributes to the advancement of science, invites critical consciousness, and welcomes diversity with community wellbeing at the forefront, while challenging rhetoric that oppose, challenge, and inhibit wellness for all.
Finally, we also reaffirm all of our codes of conduct, which prohibit mistreatment and harassment based on race/ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, and/or religion. We welcome additional suggestions regarding how to reinforce the CDU CLEDIC values in response to all Executive Order rooted in discriminatory and divisive rhetoric. Meanwhile, “Know Your Rights” workshops are available across the city and we suggest our CDU community becomes informed of the issues impacting their wellbeing.
David Martins, MD, MS
President, CDU Academic Senate
Chair, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine