In solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Dear HDR@UCR Friends and Associates,

The members of the Center for Health Disparities Research stand in solidarity with our Black community, colleagues, students and others who are grieving and outraged by the recent murder of George Floyd and so many others before and after him. As a center whose mission is to address health disparities within our local communities, it is our obligation and responsibility to make a statement providing our stance in light of recent events. Our sympathies go out to the Black communities within Riverside and nationwide who constantly face institutionalized racism and systemic oppression. More than that, we hear the call to offer more than words but action. As a majority non-Black research center we recognize our individual and collective roles in challenging white supremacy and contributing to changing the systems of oppression and structural violence that create the health disparities we research. The gross inequalities that characterize American society compelled us to establish this center in the first place and drive our social justice mission. In this time of turmoil and social transformation, it is necessary for us to remain accountable. 

It will take considerable time and tireless effort to address the root causes of health inequities in this country, and it will require system-level changes to reduce poverty, eliminate structural racism, improve income equality, increase educational opportunity, and rewrite the laws and policies that perpetuate structural inequities. All actors in the community have the power to change the narrative, take action, and promote health equity. The following include some of the actions the members of HDR@UCR are taking towards achieving that goal:

Within HDR@UCR:
  • Changing the way researchers are trained so that anti-oppressive and community-engaged approaches are the norm rather than exception
  • An intentional inclusion of research and scholarship by diverse scholars.
  • Providing a range of training programs for graduate, postdoctoral, and new Principal Investigators that are intentional in addressing the systemic inequities faced by Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities
  • Specifically supporting opportunities for grant funding and mentorship of underrepresented scholars
  • Changing the structures of how we do research, including infusing community perspectives into the questions we ask and how we approach our work
  • Ensuring that our research is widely disseminated to reach our communities, generate ongoing dialogues, and inform further actions  
  • Recruiting and retaining diverse, engaged faculty whose research agendas are driven by principles of social justice and health equity
  • Addressing anti-Blackness within ourselves and our research community 
Within the Inland Empire community and beyond:
  • Making health equity a shared vision and value
  • Increasing community capacity through ongoing dialogue and opportunities for co-learning and collaboration 
  • Fostering multi-sector collaboration to expand the reach of our research
  • Bringing together broad interdisciplinary approaches, including environmental,  biomedical, and social sciences, to collaborate with the community on the issues that matter the most to them and that impact health.
  • Ultimately, using our research to inform policy and advance community needs

In solidarity,

The Center for Health Disparities Research at UCR Team