Over the last few months, mostly as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve had a bit more time to reflect on what is important to me as it relates to my life, my family, my businesses, and what I can do for those who may be less fortunate than me. In truth, I consider myself pretty lucky, as the son of two smart and amazingly caring immigrants from Ireland and Jamaica who taught me early on that in this country of ours, you can be anything you want if you work hard and do the right thing. To some degree, they were right as it relates to our family’s pursuits.
However, this is not so true for many of our fellow African American citizens. Many are stuck in generational poverty as a result of unfair housing laws and limited access to quality education and employment opportunities, not to mention a criminal justice system whose laws and procedures have worked against this community — a community with the same unalienable rights and freedoms as any other [white] citizens, under the Constitution.
These systemic acts of racism are clear to me, especially as the son of a black man. I stand in solidarity with those who reject racism at all levels, and support the “Black Lives Matter” movement and citizens of all races and creeds who have taken to the streets across the globe to protest the cruel and deplorable deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others whose names must never be forgotten.
These senseless deaths are just as tragic as the reduced access to quality health care that plagues impoverished communities, where in many urban and rural settings the local community hospitals have been closing or are significantly underfunded.1 These disparities are also blatantly evident in the disproportionate number of African Americans affected by COVID-19 for numerous reasons, many of which are at the root of racism in this country.
The mission of Anderson Publishing and our respective publications is to educate health care professionals in all aspects of medical imaging and radiation oncology. We stand with the many medical societies that have denounced the ongoing injustices that deeply impact the African American community. We pledge continued advocacy for diversity, inclusion, and equitable access to health care. And we share the sentiments of the American Medical Association, who in their recent statement said that “racism in its systemic, structural, institutional, and interpersonal form is an urgent threat to public health, the advancement of health equity, and a barrier to excellence in the delivery of medical care.”2
In his sermon in Selma, Alabama, on March 8, 1965, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described how “lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Dr. King was referencing his opposition to “Bloody Sunday,” when protesters were beaten by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge — but his words have particular relevance today. We will not be silent. I, and those who stand with me here at Anderson Publishing, oppose racism and police brutality, unconditionally and in all its forms.
Anderson KN. Where I Stand. Appl Rad Oncol. 2020;9(2):5.