Dear Michigan ACC Members,
The Board and staff of the Michigan Chapter ACC unequivocally state our unwavering commitment and determination to denounce and speak up against systemic racism and social injustice. We must stop the silence.
In recent weeks, racism and social injustice in our country have come into increasingly sharp focus. Over and over we have heard the terrifying account of EMT Breonna Taylor shot and killed in her home in Louisville, Kentucky. We have watched the haunting videos of Ahmaud Arbery shot and killed while jogging in his hometown of Brunswick, Georgia; George Floyd pinned and asphyxiated in the street in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Rayshard Brooks shot and killed outside a fast food restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. Unimaginable? It should be, but we are destined for more senseless killings as long as our society remains plagued with racism and injustice.
Together, we can work for the changes that are so desperately needed in our society. Together, we can stand against injustice and racism in every aspect, indeed every interaction, of our professional and personal lives.
Together, we can support health equity and promote inclusion and diversity. Sadly, we know the consequences of the alternative. We have seen the COVID pandemic disproportionately affect African Americans. In Michigan, 32 percent of all confirmed coronavirus cases involved African American patients, yet they make up about 13.6 percent of the state’s population. More than 40 percent of all coronavirus deaths in the state are African Americans. In the US, African Americans are 5x more likely to be incarcerated than whites, and 3x more likely to be killed by police in an encounter. Yet African Americans comprise less than 15 percent of the population.
Together as the Michigan Chapter of the ACC, we can make a difference. To do this we cannot remain silent. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” By speaking out, we can ensure that this moment is the beginning of a movement toward meaningful change.
Your Chapter Board charges each of you to speak up whenever and wherever you witness racism and injustice. Together, we make the same commitment as the collective voice of cardiology in our state. Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can stop the silence.
David Wohns, MD, MBA, Chapter President
Alice Betz, Executive Director