Society of Black Academic Surgeons Response to Continued Acts of Brutality and Injustice
We, the Society of Black Academic Surgeons (SBAS) in the midst of our outrage and grief, continue to condemn these endemic and unjust acts of violence towards Black men and women. The recent shooting of Mr. Jacob Blake is yet another painful example of systemic racism that is a pervasive threat to the lives of Black people and other communities of color. Mr. Jacobs, an unarmed Black man, was viewed as a mortal threat by the Wisconsin police department. Within 24 hours, an armed White man mortally wounded protesters yet was viewed as an ally by the same police force. This is the devastating consequence of structural racism and the dehumanization of Black men and women based on the color of our skin.
As surgeons, we bear agonizing witness to the destructive and devastating impact of bullets on human life. We witness their ability to permanently alter and end life. We know each of those seven bullets tore through nerves and life sustaining organs… Just as it tears through our hearts. We not only witness these tragedies as surgeons, but the impact on us is also personal and ubiquitous. This is a reality we face in our roles as mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. So, we are compelled to continue to use our voices to say… ENOUGH!
The impact on us is personal and ubiquitous.
- Enough! bullets in our backs, in our beds, while we exercise and while our children play.
- Enough! delayed and denied justice for Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and countless others.
- Enough! lack of accountability or consequences for those who devalue, disregard and denigrate Black lives.
Now is the time for intentional, consistent, and demonstrable action…
For the sake of our patients, our families, ourselves and our country, we call for the following:
- We call for police reform. Accountability is mandatory.
- We call for equal treatment by those who protect and serve.
- We call for leaders in cities and counties to transparently do their part to change the system locally.
- We call for structural racism to be addressed in society and all facets of the healthcare system to improve access to healthcare and health outcomes.
We recognize that we are not in this fight alone. Now is the time for intentional, consistent and demonstrable action and accountability of ourselves, our organizations, and our allies.