Structural Competency Working Group Position Statement

Structural Competency Working Group logo

Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Community Members:

The members of the Structural Competency Working Group are outraged at the senseless killings of Black people at the hands of police. We mourn for the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and others whose names we have not yet learned. We condemn the ongoing police violence against people protesting police brutality and state-sanctioned violence. We join others around the world in imagining how movements towards solidarity will dismantle the structural racism that has plagued our country since its inception. In addition, each of us must become more aware of our own unconscious biases. 

In 1968 the Kerner Commission Report on civil disobedience cited poverty and institutional racism as the primary drivers of urban violence. Fifty-two years later, the same can be said. Ongoing police violence occurs in the foreground of a pandemic that has unequally affected Black people as well as Latinx and Native American people throughout the United States. Regrettably, protests may lead to the further spread of COVID-19, likely worsened by police use of tear gas and other forms of force. The COVID-19 pandemic has made longstanding inequities in health and healthcare more visible. Health inequities--like police violence--are manifestations of structural racism and other forms of structural violence.

As health professionals, students and researchers, we call for the end of police brutality and health inequity. We invite you to join us in participating in this work at multiple levels. 

Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Action

  • Learn about histories of structural racism, resistance and resilience along with present social movements, including in healthcare. 

  • Take the Harvard Implicit Bias Test (IAT) and the Project Implicit Health Test.

  • Learn about how voter suppression and racial gerrymandering have discouraged and disenfranchised voters across the nation. Join forces with Black-led movements that are working to restore the rights of voters in your community and across the country.

  • Give money and time to support Black political candidates and other people of color in your community who will fight for antiracist policies.

Institutional and Community

Policy and Research

Finally, we envision a radical transformation in values and restructuring of institutions to support an inclusive, interconnected consciousness based on love, justice, compassion, responsibility, shared power and a deep respect for all people, places, and things. 

In solidarity,

Members of the Structural Competency Working Group 

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The Structural Competency Working Group (SCWG) is co-sponsored by Berkeley Center for Social Medicine. For more about SCWG, visit their website.