Statement on the Death of George Floyd

Dear Vanderbilt Kennedy Center community,

The racial inequality, injustice, and violence that African Americans continue to face in our country is abhorrent and unacceptable. We view the nationwide protests that have occurred after the violent death of George Floyd and so many before him as a positive catalyst for change. And so much needs to change.

The Kennedy Center’s role throughout this time is to continue to improve the lives of people with disabilities and families, recognizing that people with disabilities are found within every demographic group and subpopulation in America. We recognize that we must continue to work to lessen the health and service disparities that continue to exist for African Americans with disabilities. While the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center has been committed to this and we have worked hard to overcome the ever-present obstacles, we are now committed to redoubling our efforts in this area.

In light of this commitment, we will meet with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Community Advisory Council in June to review our efforts and to identify new opportunities to support and respect the lives of African American individuals with disabilities, who make up an estimated 5.6 million people in the United States. Additionally, we will partner with the Vanderbilt Office of Health Equity and community and state agencies such as the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to identify specific ways to work towards these efforts.

We know we can do better and we will work to do so, and I ask all of you to help us in these efforts and to think of ways that each of us can make a difference. Notably, one of the central strategic directions for the Vanderbilt University Medical Center is to “make diversity and inclusion intentional,” and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center has been committed to this goal since its founding in 1965. We remain steady in our resolve to continue and expand this commitment.

Thank you,

Jeffrey Neul, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
Annette Schaffer Eskind Chair
Professor of Pediatrics, Pharmacology, and Special Education
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Vanderbilt University

Last Updated: 6/12/2020 1:55:17 PM

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