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We need to do better. Here’s what we’re doing first.

2 Minute Read

The outrage and pain our communities, most especially people of color, are feeling after witnessing example after example of police brutality is very real and must be acknowledged.

We stand with those pleading for an end to all forms of racism and bigotry and for reforms in the systems that allow these tragedies to keep occurring and for system inequality to keep existing.

But we also know that words are not enough. We must take action.

Part of that action is acknowledging the sad truth that it shouldn’t take the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and literally dozens of others for us to take action. It shouldn’t take the cry of “I can’t breathe” for us to be intentional and passionate about being anti-racist in all aspects of the work we’re engaged in.

But here we are. We acknowledge our shortcomings and are committing to do and be better.

First Steps

Today, we’re committing to the following steps to address racial inequity and advance opportunity for marginalized people and groups in our own community:

  • We have begun the process of defining our long-term diversity and inclusion strategy, outlining new partnerships and specific areas of increased focus and support. We commit to transparent discussion and sharing of our evolving strategies and ongoing efforts towards a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community.
  • Our website now features an official inclusion, diversity and anti-racism statement, including a public acknowledgement of the deep racial disenfranchisement that is embedded in the history of the section of downtown Winston-Salem that is now the Innovation Quarter.
  • We have committed to participating in racial equity, anti-bias and LGBTQ+ ally training for all Innovation Quarter administrative, event, property management and security team members in the next 60 days.
  • We are committed to continue supporting community organizations, such as Winston4Peace, to raise awareness and connectivity within our community in the fight against racial injustice.
  • We are committed to continue to support organizations that serve to advance inclusive innovation and equitable educational/training opportunities in our community.
  • We are focused on partnering with community organizations, such as Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods, to support the historically underserved communities adjacent to the Innovation Quarter.

These efforts represent next steps we can take to do and be better, but they’re far from our last. As we continue to listen and learn from our community we look forward to sharing concrete, tangible actions we have taken to advance systemic change.

Our role in the stewardship of this part of downtown Winston-Salem must include continual, intentional work to help bridge the physical and historical divides that exist here, and to ensure that everyone in our community feels welcome, valued and has access to opportunity.

If you’d like to engage with us directly about any of these issues, please contact Lindsey Schwab, our director of community relations, at l.schwab@wakehealth.edu.