April 21, 2021 message: In response to the Minneapolis trial verdict

The following message was sent to SMPH faculty, staff, and students on April 21, 2021. 

Dear colleagues,

Yesterday, we watched along with the rest of the world as the jury’s verdict was read for charges in the murder of George Floyd. Though these guilty verdicts bring accountability in this instance of police brutality, they cannot return Mr. Floyd to his family. We continue to hold them in our thoughts.

There is a sense of closure at the conclusion of this trial, but there is no closure for the public health crisis sparked by racism in our nation. We see every single day the devastating impact of racism and inequity on the health of communities and individuals. We envision a better day: a day when Black patients have equitable access to culturally competent health care, and when Black populations experience lifelong well-being in neighborhoods, at school and at work, at play and at rest. We envision a day free of bias, vitriol, racism, oppression, and violence directed at BIPOC people.

This future has not yet arrived. Our work as a school of medicine and public health continues. Our vision is straightforward: healthy people and healthy communities. Racism stands in the way of this vision.

As this trial ends, we will continue to fight racism wherever it manifests — in ourselves, in our institutions, and in the greater community. As this trial reaches closure, let us continue to support one another — both on a personal basis and through resources available to the campus community — and to renew our commitment to advancing health and health equity by respecting the rights, dignity, and differences of all.


Robert N. Golden, MD
Robert Turell Professor in Medical Leadership
Dean, School of Medicine and Public Health

Tracy M. Downs, MD, FACS
Associate Dean for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
Co-interim Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Manuel Santigo, M.Ed.
Director of Multicultural Affairs
Co-interim Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Danielle L. Yancey, MS
Director, Native American Center for Health Professions
Co-interim Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer