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A Guilty Verdict, But More Work Lies Ahead

Nearly a year ago, our nation was stunned by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In so many ways, that day changed all of us profoundly. It demanded that each of us look hard at the shadow we cast—at how we affect others through our words, our actions and the exchanges we have as human beings.

Today, we learned that a jury has returned a guilty verdict in the case of former officer Derek Chauvin, but this conviction doesn’t change the immeasurable grief we feel as a nation in the face of continued injustice and violence against people of color. There is still significant work that lies ahead—nationally and locally.

Violence, bigotry, hatred and the continued injustices are unacceptable and have no place in this country. We must do more to confront the racism that plagues our society, and we must continue to look in the mirror and face our own blind spots. At Jefferson, we are committed to doing that. We are compelled to work every day to build safe, equitable communities and advance a culture of diversity and inclusion to ensure EVERY person can live a healthy, fulfilling and safe life.

The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement will be hosting B.R.A.V.E. conversations throughout May to provide a safe space for all to express their feelings as we grapple with ongoing and tragic events that single out and target diverse communities. Information on these conversations will be shared shortly.

Jefferson is steadfast in its commitment to our core values that shape how we treat each other and our patients and students every day.

  • We are committed to putting people first—by listening and empathizing with our friends, neighbors and colleagues who are suffering—and supporting one another.
  • We are resolute in doing the right thing—by naming and recognizing the clear injustices in our country and in our cities and standing in solidarity with all the communities we serve, including the Black community, to dismantle racist systems and create a safe, inclusive environment for all.
  • We are dedicated to being bold and thinking differently by constantly seeking opportunities to remedy disparities in health care access and education and addressing the social inequities that affect both.

Combatting racism is an ongoing responsibility for every one of us. To make meaningful progress, each of us must take on an active role in dismantling systems of prejudice and discrimination. All of us have room to help affect change. Together, we can work towards true transformation.

Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA
President, Thomas Jefferson University
CEO, Jefferson Health