School of Nursing

May 27, 2021

George Floyd One Year

A year has passed since the murder of George Floyd. And yesterday, three police officers in Tacoma were charged with the murder of Manual Ellis, a Black man who died just a few weeks before Floyd after being restrained and calling out, “I can’t breathe.”

Their deaths represent the profound and persistent problem that manifests across every aspect of American society, including our healthcare system. Today, as yesterday and tomorrow, communities of color will die of diseases and illnesses and injuries that could have been prevented or better treated but weren’t.

Healthcare equity is a matter of life and death for tens of millions of people. This is not a theoretical issue; it is a social issue that needs to be a priority for nurses and all those who work in the healthcare system.

As UW President Ana Mari Cauce said in her recent post, “as a public University, our commitment to equity does not – indeed, cannot – end at the edges of our campuses. More than a year of pandemic has exposed and intensified the pervasive and systemic inequities here in Washington and across the nation, and underscored our University’s critical role in working with underserved communities.”

I am proud that the School of Nursing has taken the lead on this critical issue by establishing the Center for Antiracism in Nursing. We are making a significant commitment to understanding and addressing institutionalized racism that is the root cause of healthcare inequity.

Our greatest tribute to George Floyd and Manuel Ellis will be our commitment to disrupting racism.