DEI Task Force Statement on George Floyd Tragedy

The leadership of New York Tech's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, like many people throughout the nation and the world, extends condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd, who died in a most horrific and inhumane manner. His unfortunate and untimely death, as a result of his encounter with law enforcement, along with the recent and past deaths of so many other innocent people in the black community, is both tragic and heart breaking. It is a sad reminder that despite any progress made over the years, racism can still ultimately lead to death.

In regard to the black community and people of color, law enforcement and the justice system are certainly in need of major reform. However, it is important to understand that institutional racism must be addressed not only in law enforcement but also in every system in the United States, including health, business, politics, housing, and education, as they are all inter-related. In the healthcare field, we frequently refer to the "social determinants of health," which is an acknowledgment that health outcomes are directly related to nonmedical areas such as poverty, housing, education, and the environment. Society has categorized these issues for logistical reasons, but they are unmistakably intertwined.

At New York Tech, we should continue to relish and value the diversity of our students, staff, and faculty. Given our diversity, we have an opportunity to create an environment in which people of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds can flourish and thrive in an academic environment. We should use these recent horrific events as a catalyst to strengthen our resolve to create a microcosm on campus of what America has the potential to be.

Brian L. Harper, M.D.
Co-Chair, DEI Task Force