“We are witnessing a resurgence of the manifestations of racism and intolerance that have plagued our country,” wrote UT Southwestern Medical Center President Dr. Daniel Podolsky in a letter of encouragement and mourning to UTSW staff about the “senseless” death of George Floyd and ensuing protests.
The Sunday email noted the compounding threats of two massive challenges facing the nation: systemic racism and the COVID-19 pandemic. Podolsky wrote that he was disturbed by the “brutality of the murder of Mr. George Floyd and others who have recently suffered violent acts of racism, as well as the targeting of individuals and communities based on ethnic and national origins.”
Podolsky emphasized that these types of attitudes would not be tolerated at UTSW, calling them “repugnant,” especially for an organization whose mission is to promote health. “The UT Southwestern community rejects intolerance and supports its members in confronting these challenges,” he wrote.
While not condoning the violence and destruction that has followed the death of Floyd, he wrote that he understood the need to protest, writing “the right to nonviolent protest is a cornerstone of our democracy.”
Podolsky continued, reaffirming his personal commitment to diversity as well as the institution’s desire to have “respect for every individual, in every encounter, every day. It is incumbent upon each of us, in all we do, to sustain an inclusive culture at UT Southwestern.”
“This is a place where you belong, no matter who you are.”