June 12, 2020
We are an academy of surgeons from diverse backgrounds and we stand together against brutality and injustice, such as that endured by the African American community for untold years. While incremental civil rights victories have been achieved, recorded video of recent events has implored all of us to bear witness to the inhumanity of persistent and recurrent injustices. The murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis on the heels of the delayed arrest of the individuals who murdered Ahmaud Arbery, as well as the murder of Breonna Taylor compels every one of us to stand up for justice and to eradicate pervasive racism in all its forms. Our Academy strives to advance fairness, inclusion, equity, and peace, while actively opposing acts of oppression, exclusion, brutality, and racism in any form—and we must authentically combat systemic discrimination, racism, and intolerance within our larger society and institutions.
To complement recent Academy priorities for engagement and inclusion begun over the past four years, the AAFPRS Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion was created last Fall in order to make recommendations for additional purposeful culture change within our Academy—ensuring that we are advancing meaningful engagement and inclusion among all in our diverse membership. We will soon be asking for your support to institutionalize our commitment to continuously enhance and safeguard that our culture is truly inclusive and representative of all members. In the meantime, we would like to reach out to our Academy community and to our members who have suffered the effects of racism to offer unwavering support and empathy for the pain and anguish endured. It is our individual and collective responsibility to be change agents.
The stories featured in the news lately are not unique or removed from members of our Academy family. As you may recall, Lamont Jones shared his harrowing story of hope, faith, and courage in the face his COVID-19 infection in our last issue of Facial Plastic Times . He has now offered to share his account of his own experience with a grossly unjust system that nearly destroyed his life simply because of the color of his skin (click here).
We thank Lamont for once again putting a face to the suffering we must address as individuals and collectively. Additionally, we call upon our AAFPRS family to work together to fight injustices wherever they may exist, while assuring our Academy is an authentic place of inclusion for every one of our diverse members, colleagues and friends.
With hope for the future,