The following is a message from WIAAP President, Dipesh Navsaria, MD, MSLIS, MPH, FAAP.
The last few months have — appropriately — brought back into the national consciousness an awareness of our country’s long history of racism and discrimination, built upon the foundation of slavery and genocide. These are not new problems, nor new shames. What is new, however, is a foregrounding of these issues in our general societal discourse.
What we hope is also new is a renewed commitment to meaningful, specific, and actionable change. Statements, sentiments, reflection, and thinking are all valuable, but only as the very beginning of movement forward. We have discussed this at our Chapter, and offer these comments:
- First and foremost, we have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the national American Academy of Pediatrics, whose landmark statement The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health is a masterpiece of history, understanding, science, advocacy, and action. We fully endorse this statement, have shared and promoted it, and state that it reflects our values, hopes, and goals.
- Our Chapter president, writing independently has also covered these topics here, here, here, and here. He also spoke at Madison’s White Coats for Black Lives rally on 13 June 2020.
- We have been looking at our own internal structures, including our Board makeup, and also taking advantage of what is our expected first new staff hire in over a decade (adding a position, not replacing) to ensure we explicitly consider diversity, equity, and inclusion as core criteria.
- Lastly, while we focused on all of the above internally, as well as in our messaging through social media and via other routes, we neglected to say it clearly on our website, here. Racial justice matters. Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. Immigrant lives matter. We, the pediatricians of Wisconsin, know this, believe this, and will continue to work towards a world in which that is easily evident not merely in words, but in deeds.
We invite and welcome your thoughts, your ideas, and your perspective, whether now or in the future. We hope you’re willing to come on this journey with us — and, more importantly, help us plan where that journey may go, and what it looks like. Because it takes all of us to examine, explore, elaborate — and act. Our state’s children — and children everywhere — are too important not to.