School of Medicine Town Hall on Racial Justice

School of Medicine Town Hall on Racial Justice

Message from Ronn Johnson, PhD, ABPP
Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion
Creighton University School of Medicine

As a medical school that has committed itself to being culturally responsive, we again find ourselves making a clarion call to gather to speak out against another incident of racial violence. The Atlanta killings of mostly Asian women is a racial hate crime. As health care professionals and medical scientists, we pause to condemn this senseless act of violence. There has been a spike in anti-Asian rhetoric and hate crimes since the pandemic started.  All the perpetrators are men who reflexively use their aggrieved circumstances in a malignantly misguided effort to exert violence on People of Color just for being in an existential sense. I am a bi-racial male (African-American and Native American). When members of my racial groups are the victims of violence, I am affected.  Yet, when acts of hate are exacted on Asians, Latinx, or Jews, I immediately become a member of those groups. Why?  Because cross-culturally, we experience the same reality as a result of what we represent to those threatened by our mere presence or hearing our voices. 

From the Trail of Tears to the Atlanta Killings, the history of this country is littered with an unmistakable pattern of racial aggressions that are the precursors to racial terrorism. Whether it is rogue police or delusional civilians, racial terrorism has surged, partly as a result of the rise in rhetorical verbal aggression freely directed at anyone perceived to be “the other.” From George Floyd to this latest travesty to the Atlanta Killings, we are well beyond the Rubicon when it comes to addressing racial terrorism in its many forms.  Thus far there is a paltry patchwork of lofty-sounding efforts being proposed. Nonetheless, there are efforts that will have an impact: Jesuits in this country have pledged $100 million toward racial reconciliation. The goal is to raise at least one billion, all in an effort to achieve justice and racial healing.

Webinar Recording: Town Hall on Racial Justice

More than 70 members of the Creighton community participated in the School of Medicine’s March 25 Town Hall as allies in the cause for racial justice. Remarks and discussion were led by School of Medicine administration and faculty including:  Dean Robert Dunlay, MD; Associate Dean for Mission and Identity Fr. James Clifton, SJ; Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Ronn Johnson, PhD; Professor Jaya Raj, MD; Assistant Professor Jyotsna Ranga, MD; Department of Pathology Professor and Chair Poonam Sharma, MBBS; Associate Professor Renuga Vivekanandan, MD; and Biomedical Sciences Professor and Chair Jian Zuo, MD. We invite you to watch a recording of the webinar below.