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UMD Prevention Research Center Statement on Police Violence and Anti-Racism

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As we enter Pride month, we feel anguish, grief, and anger at the slaying of Black lives and the police brutality against them. We condemn these racially-motivated acts of violence, the systems that allow violence to persist with impunity and the ongoing legacy of racial injustice in America. Perpetrators of anti-Black violence must be held accountable and justice must be served. 

We recognize the most recent victims of police brutality: George Floyd, McKinsley Lincoln, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, and Ahmaud Arbery. As a nation, we have borne witness to the killings of countless Black people, named and unnamed, as a result of anti-Black racism and police violence. This is unacceptable and must end. We support and stand in solidarity with those seeking justice across the U.S. and  commit ourselves  to anti-racist work. 

The University of Maryland Prevention Research Center recognizes and emphasizes that racism is a public health crisis requiring urgent action. We bring specific attention to the murders of Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and McKinsley Lincoln, Black members of the LGBTQ community. We acknowledge the epidemic of violence against LGBTQ communities of color, especially Black transgender communities, and demand justice for all communities of color that have suffered from racially-motivated violence and homicide. 

We acknowledge that we are an institution with predominantly White members and leadership; we too, play a part in perpetuating systems of privilege and subordination, of structural and systematic racism. 

As public health scholars, we express our support of communities of color, and our sincere intention to name and eliminate racism as a legitimate public health crisis. We also recognize that anti-racism work requires action. Therefore, we are instituting a series of strategies to hold ourselves accountable for helping address structural and systemic racism. 

First, our center will begin conducting quarterly reviews that explicitly assess our progress in addressing race, racism, anti-racism, and racial equity across our center teams and activities; this includes an examination of who is engaged with this work and whose voices contribute to this work through our partnerships and our engagement with stakeholders. 

Second, we are updating our internal review process to ensure that our research and communication are explicit in framing and addressing inequities in the broader structural forces that cause them (e.g., racism, homophobia). We also commit to an intersectional approach in our work that ensures the visibility of the unique experiences of LGBTQ people of color.

Lastly, we commit to listening, centering, and incorporating Black voices on our team.  As a center, we recognize it will take all of us to dismantle institutionalized racism in all of its forms. 

We acknowledge that this work is ongoing and ever-evolving, thus our commitments to address and dismantle anti-Black racism -- and racism more broadly -- compels us to revisit these strategies time and time again. We stand with those who seek to advance the humanity and livelihood of Black people and other people of color and to play an active role in dismantling White systems of power and privilege.

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