CUIMC Community Joins Together to Address Systemic Racism

Members of the CUIMC community kneeled in silence to show a unified stance against racism.

Members of the CUIMC community kneeled in silence to show a unified stance against racism.

On June 8, members of the CUIMC community joined with colleagues at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine to observe nine minutes of silence in a symbol of unity against racism and a shared commitment to making Black lives matter, here at Columbia and beyond.

The moment came as tens of thousands of people have gathered in New York City and across the nation for two weeks to protest the death of George Floyd and the disproportionate killing of Black people by police.

At 2 p.m. in front of NYP's Milstein Hospital Building on the CUIMC campus, a group of health care professionals silently kneeled for nine minutes.

“We want to reassure you of our personal commitment, with your help and with your input, to have frank discussions, to take the actions needed to fight against racial bias, and to be a leader in the effort to move our country towards fairness and justice, beginning with our own organization and in our own community,” wrote CUIMC deans Lee Goldman, MD, Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent, and Lorraine Frazier, RN, PhD, in a joint email announcing the observance. 

On June 10, hundreds of members of the CUIMC community attended “Raising Voices: A Virtual Vigil to Commemorate Lives Lost to Anti-Black Violence and a Call to Action to End Structural Racism.” The vigil featured faculty, staff, and student speakers from across the medical center and the University. Those who missed the vigil can view it on the CUIMC Facebook Live webpage

In addition, on June 11 many Columbians also participated in the online University Life Forum, “Black Lives Matter, Protest and Creating Change.” Among the event's faculty speakers was Robert Fullilove, EdD, professor of sociomedical sciences and associate dean for community and minority affairs at the Mailman School of Public Health. Watch a video of the forum: