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Akron Children’s Hospital Statement on Racism and Commitment to Racial Equality

June 18, 2020

The killing of George Floyd by four police officers in Minneapolis was horrifying as our country witnessed yet another Black life taken without reason, compassion or even the basic standards of human rights deserved by all. People have the right to survive an arrest. This act of violence set off an ever-growing wave of protests against the systemic racial injustice that continues to devalue people of color and causes visible and invisible harm to so many lives.

As a health care organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children and their families, we support peaceful protests and are encouraged by the multitude of voices speaking out about our society’s failure to end racism and discrimination. We believe every voice has the right to be heard, and every person deserves dignity and respect.

We recognize that George Floyd’s heartbreaking death is a turning point. This moment demands a call to action that must not be missed. We acknowledge the rightful anger and despair in Black and Brown communities. We recognize that when we do not acknowledge and confront racism in all its forms, we are part of the problem. We must do more to address the structural inequities in our country’s health care, educational, employment, housing, financial, law enforcement and judicial systems.  

We also recognize that institutional change requires reflection and an honest evaluation of our blind spots. If we are going to do better, we have to be better. As individuals, we have to step outside of our own experiences to listen with purpose and connect with empathy. As an institution, we have to admit our shortcomings and commit to creating a more responsive culture that reflects our community as a whole at all levels of the organization.

Akron Children’s Hospital was founded on three promises: to treat every child as we would our own, to treat others as they would like to be treated and to turn no child away for any reason. Our culture and values are based on creating a welcoming environment for everyone who walks through our doors. To ensure that we are living up to those promises, we commit to developing new forums for our employees and patient families to share their experiences. We pledge to listen to their voices and do the work required to make our organization better. This will be a difficult but necessary dialogue, and we are grateful to those of you who have already shared your concerns.

In that spirit, we brought together a group of employees to create this response to the protests happening in our communities and across the country, and we asked all Akron Children’s employees to share their thoughts and concerns. We intend for this moment to be the beginning of real change, and we are already planning actions we can take to be part of the solution. We encourage your feedback and welcome your ideas about how we can move forward together. 

To reach our team, please send an email to inclusion@akronchildrens.org