The violent killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department adds to the long list of deaths that have resulted from systemic racism in our country. The COVID-19 crisis and its disproportionate impact on people of color and underserved communities reflects a similar issue. It is clear that our country has not adequately addressed our ability to care for diverse populations, including those with different skin colors, ethnicities, sexual preferences, beliefs, and practices. OTA believes that its members should stand united against organizations and cultures that perpetuate inequality and injustice, including issues such as police brutality, healthcare disparities, and educational inequalities, which adversely impact our patients and communities.
How is OTA responding?
The OTA leadership appointed the OTA Diversity Committee earlier this year. The OTA Diversity Committee has produced a statement reflecting the organization’s position on diversity: “The OTA promotes and values diversity and inclusion at all levels with the goal of creating an environment where every member has the opportunity to excel in leadership, education, and culturally-competent orthopaedic trauma care.”
The Diversity Committee’s goals are to:
- Develop, implement, and monitor a plan to increase diversity within membership and leadership.
- Establish a code of conduct for OTA events that creates an environment free from discrimination, bullying, harassment, and sexual harassment.
- Promote diversity at all levels, with the goal of creating an environment in which everyone has the opportunity to excel in leadership and educational faculty positions.
What can I do?
OTA members’ voices impact their families, their practices, and their communities. Here are some actionable items you can do to help effect change:
- Acknowledge racism is not just a “black issue”: Racism is a societal ill that affects everyone. To effect real change, those who are afforded privilege because of their race, gender, or socioeconomic background must recognize their part in bolstering systemic racism and actively seek opportunities to change the status quo.
- Talk to your children, friends, coworkers, and family: Speak candidly about racism with other non-black people. If you hear someone make a racist comment or witness a microagression, do not remain silent.
- Donate: The North Star Health Collective has compiled a list of organizations that rely on donations to fulfill their missions. In addition, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund provides legal support to victims of racial violence and race-based discrimination.
- Make your voice heard: Vote and be politically active at all levels of government.