Dean Fairchild responds to Breonna Taylor grand jury
Dear College of Public Health Community,
Breonna Taylor’s killing is one of our most recent bitter examples of the outrageous ways in which Black and Brown Americans must live with the reality of being walking — even sleeping — targets of senseless law enforcement violence.
A Kentucky grand jury’s decision to indict one of three Louisville police officers for “wanton endangerment” of her neighbors but to bring no indictments related to Taylor’s death came a day after a White House executive order that must also galvanize our public health community.
The Sept. 22 White House executive order aims to correct “misrepresentations of our country’s history and its role in the world.” The order described anti-bias or inclusive excellence training that acknowledges structural racism as “malign ideology” that “threatens to infect core institutions of our country.” The order prohibits the use of federal grants for trainings that represent the most fundamental knowledge and insights of a century of public health research. It also applies to federal contractors who might “inculcate” employees with these same “divisive concepts.”
At the College of Public Health, we understand that the path toward justice begins by grappling with and dismantling the structures that divide us. It requires not only analyzing but shaping public understanding of the ways in which systems of oppression shape opportunities and choices not only for Black Americans but also for Latinos, immigrants, people with disabilities, women, members of LBGTQ communities, and others.
Those who are not in the crushing grip of these oppressive systems sometimes have the hardest time seeing them. We will not back away from shedding light.