UAEM NORTH AMERICA STATEMENT ON BLM & POLICE BRUTALITY

Pintrest.com 

We, at Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) North America, stand in full solidarity with our friends and allies protesting anti-Black violence, racism (de jure and de facto), and its practices and systems, specifically, institutionalized racism, systems of policing, and mass incarceration. We call for swift and immediate justice for George Floyd (MI), Breonna Taylor (KY), Ahmaud Arbery (GA), Tony McDade (FL) and so many others who have lost their lives to police violence and lynching. We condemn the horrific violence used against protesters and the violations of civil liberties we have witnessed. 

 

We strongly affirm that Black Lives Matter. But to say that lives matter is the bare minimum. We strive to affirm Black personhood and vitality.

As an organization that works to make medicines affordable and accessible around the world, we are deeply aware of the role racism plays in creating and deepening health inequities and disparities. To be health activists we must also be committed to social justice, equality, freedom, equity, and respect. The fight for access to medicines is above all a fight for the most vulnerable among us, and a just healthcare system is one in which Blacks have equal access to the medicines they need to live, survive, and thrive. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted black communities as a result of the social, economic, and political systems that perpetuate harm against black people. Our work at UAEM stems from the basic belief that health is a human right. Additionally, our mission, vision, and values statement reflect our ongoing work and dedication to “non-partisanship, democracy, transparency, solidarity, and respect.”

Last year, UAEM drafted and approved a comprehensive strategic vision, which endorses our commitment to building a diverse and inclusive movement for access to medicines, contributing to the broader health equity and justice spheres, and committed to building diverse partnerships for student recruitment and beyond. Explicitly, we have the following beliefs which are demonstrated in our work (past, present, and future), that strengthen our resolve on the current events in the United States:

We believe in a world where:

Universities lead the mission to ensure equitable access to publicly-funded medicines, prioritize the health needs of marginalized populations in their research, and uphold their responsibilities to the public. 

We commit to:

Supporting our partners at the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), an organization committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students and addressing the needs of underserved communities,  in addressing inequities in access to medicines, healthcare, science, and youth empowerment. 

Strengthening our partnerships with Black and Indigenous-led organizations to ensure that our campaign goals are aligned with and informed by the efforts of these organizations in science, health, and medicine. This means deciding on future campaign topics and goals with the input of our allies and a full discussion of their implications for racial justice.

Centering and uplifting the voices of our Black members by committing to chapter recruitment at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as well as universities that have expressed alliance with the movement for Black Lives.

Evaluating the demographics of UAEM North America’s Coordinating Committee, Board, and wider membership and making a plan to increase diversity in both membership and leadership recruitment.

Integrating anti-racist trainings at the annual UAEM North American Conference and North American Leadership Meetings with the goal of identifying specific changes we can make to our own organizing strategies, structures, and partnerships to be better allies with Black liberation and anti-racist organizing.

Organizing ongoing political education efforts for our network, on topics including:

    • Education about white supremacy and racism for a global audience, including other UAEM regions.
    • Whiteness as a system of oppression, how it functions, and how to combat it.

As part of our mission, continuing to advocate for bold systems-level change to ensure that the systems of science and medicine serve the interests of global health for all, rather than the interests of capitalism, imperialism, and white supremacy.

We invite input from our membership as we commit to learning and to prioritizing racial justice in all our work.

 

In solidarity,

UAEM North America