On June 18-19, 2020, Mass General marked Juneteenth with “A Celebration of Joy, Empowerment and Healing.” The two-day event featured talks, poetry, art and music presentations, and historical overviews.
During the COVID pandemic, we have witnessed first-hand the best of humanity as staff from different backgrounds have united in extraordinary compassion, collaboration and courage. Yet, this week we also have been starkly reminded that we as a society have a long way to go on the journey to a truly stronger, just and tolerant nation for all.
We were horrified by the accounts of the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This incident—which was videotaped and broadcast widely—is another heartbreaking example of unacceptable violence in our country. George Floyd’s death, which has led to riots in Minneapolis and protests across the nation, came on the heels of the senseless death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man in Georgia who was jogging when confronted and allegedly shot by two white men, an incident that also was caught on videotape. As actor Will Smith noted during an interview in 2016, “Racism is not getting worse, it is getting filmed.”
Closer to home, one of our Asian-American physicians was harassed by a man who made hurtful and threatening remarks as she walked just outside the doors of our hospital—after a long and difficult shift caring for COVID patients. We know that for every one of these reports there are more that go unsaid, unreported, unrecorded.
It is our collective responsibility to combat hatred and xenophobia and discrimination of all kinds. As a place of healing, a place dedicated to humanity and hope, Massachusetts General Hospital stands firmly and resolutely in our commitment to work toward a community and a nation where no one has to live in fear because of what they look like, where they come from, what they believe or who they love. Sadly, we still have much work to do.
Peter L. Slavin, MD
Mass General President
Timothy G. Ferris, MD
Massachusetts General Physicians Organization CEO
Joseph Betancourt, MD
Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer
- Jul | 1 | 2020
The arts can be an incredible source of resilience during challenging times, and the people creating and disseminating art are often deeply affected by the same things their art helps people face.
- Jul | 1 | 2020
Juneteenth is about proclaiming what Black people have been saying for centuries: that Black lives matter, meaning that African-American humanity is not debatable, said Hasan Jeffries, PhD, during his keynote address at Mass General Hospital’s Juneteenth celebration earlier this month.
- Jul | 1 | 2020
On June 18, the hospital community was treated to a virtual tour of local history as part of the hospital’s Juneteenth celebration. Amelia Benstead, from the National Parks of Boston, led the tour of the Museum of African American History and the area neighboring Mass General.
- Jun | 30 | 2020
The MGH Center for Diversity and Inclusion virtually celebrated the graduation of 46 underrepresented residents and fellows in medicine on June 5. The 2020 graduating class included residents and fellows from 14 different departments.
- Jun | 19 | 2020
While it may not have been the graduation ceremony that many Center for Community Health Improvement youth had envisioned a few months ago, it nevertheless was one for the ages.