To say we are living in troubling times would be misleading and an understatement. A veneer has been ripped off by the availability of cell phone videos revealing the killings of black men and the disparate impact of COVID-19 on communities around the country. The veneer, for many of us, had covered a raging river of abuse, killing, and disenfranchisement of too many of our fellow Americans.
As we watch in horror at events around the country, questions we might ask ourselves are “What is going on? What are we missing? What can we do? How can we support each other?” While we all feel a deep sense of sadness, anger, and dismay, many of us, even as we try to, cannot appreciate the frustration, anger, resentment, and hopelessness being felt by our fellows Americans who are black.
Here are three thought-provoking viewpoints recently shared with me.
From Twitter, @CarlosHappyNPO wrote:
“There’s one epidemic we may never find a vaccine for: fear of black men in public spaces.” By John Blake, CNN.
Our Society Constitution approved over 80 years ago, states, “The objectives of the Society are the cultivation and improvement of the Science and Art of Surgery and, to this end, the exchange of ideas and counsel amongst the Fellows for their mutual advantage.” Frank discussions about race within the San Francisco Surgical Society fall within these objectives.
I am reaching out to you for your help. What can our Society do to address and fight systemic racism? What should we do to be more inclusive? What can we do to support diversity, inclusivity, and equality? What can we do to support our Black colleagues better? What can we do as individuals?
I am soliciting your suggestions. I need your suggestions. Let us challenge ourselves to think more deeply about these issues.
I look forward to your input. In the meanwhile, please reach out and support one and another.
Marc L. Melcher
President, San Francisco Surgical Society