Dear SPH students, faculty and staff,
As you may have read in President Cauce’s statement earlier today, a group called Patriot Prayer is scheduled to hold a rally Saturday (Feb. 10) on Red Square, sponsored by a UW student group. Many of our students have profound concerns about this rally and its implications for the safety and wellbeing of members of our community, particularly people of color. Saturday’s action has caused planned peaceful events such as CulturalFest to be rescheduled and the ASUW Student Health Consortium’s Everybody Every Body Show to be canceled. We encourage you to take positive and constructive action, such as supporting Black History Month events in Seattle, a DGH student group drive to donate feminine hygiene products to a local women’s center (donations being accepted at Harris Hydraulics building), or businesses owned by people of color. You can also write a letter to your state representative, or take action in other ways that demonstrate your support for achieving a just and healthy world.
Racism and structural violence negatively affect health outcomes among marginalized groups. We unequivocally support dialogue that promotes equity and we value all members of our community. Our recommendation is that students, staff and faculty stay away from Red Square (from 8 am to 5 pm), where there will be a high police presence and a possibility of violence. This is, again, a time to work together for positive change.
Joel Kaufman, MD, MPH
Interim Dean, University of Washington School of Public Health
Professor, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, Medicine, and Epidemiology
Judith N Wasserheit
Chair, Department of Global Health
Professor, Global Health, Medicine and Epidemiology