Statement Against Racism
As followers of Jesus Christ and public health educators, we condemn racism in all its forms. These forms include structural racism—power inequalities perpetuated in our society that systematically confer advantage and privilege on the dominant racial group at the expense of oppressed racial groups—as well as interpersonal racism—explicit attitudes of prejudice and actions of discrimination between individuals. We hold that all forms of racism are inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ. We accept moral responsibility to identify and eliminate racism in processes, laws, organizational attitudes, and interpersonal relations, including in our own institutions and in ourselves. We strive to uphold Jesus Christ’s teachings by treating all people with love, respect, kindness, and dignity and by promoting inclusion, justice, and equity.
Structural racism is a public health crisis. It affects many aspects of health and well-being and is a fundamental cause of persistent racial health disparities rooted in unfair disadvantage based on race, color, position, and resources. Structural racism is pervasive in interconnected sectors of society that affect health including housing, education, employment, health services, law enforcement, and criminal justice.
As a public health program, we are committed to being proactive in anti-racism and promoting learning in the classroom, at the university, and in the community that will advance health equity, eliminate health disparities, and lift individuals, families, and communities from the hostile effects of racism. To this end, we will take the following actions:
- Listen and seek to understand the experiences and perspectives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
- Continually examine our own implicit biases and participate in continuing education and training related to diversity, inclusion, and racism.
- Create inclusive environments in and out of the classroom where people of all backgrounds feel welcomed and heard, offensive racial comments are not acceptable, and inspired teaching and meaningful conversations against racism can unify and change minds and hearts.
- Implement a coordinated curriculum in BYU’s public health courses integrating cultural humility and topics related to diversity, inclusion, and racism.
- Address racism as a critical issue in our public health research and practice.
- Advocate for racial equity in our communities.
- Request periodic external evaluation of our ongoing efforts.
We believe that acting against racism gives us opportunities to understand each other better, to learn together, and to change unjust systems and structures that segregate America’s BIPOC from upward mobility, opportunity, and health. As we seek solutions to the injustice of racism, we wholeheartedly echo the words of President Russell M. Nelson, Derrick Johnson, Leon Russell, and The Reverend Amos C. Brown:
“Answers to racism, prejudice, discrimination and hate will not come from government or law enforcement alone. Solutions will come as we open our hearts to those whose lives are different than our own, as we work to build bonds of genuine friendship, and as we see each other as the brothers and sisters we are—for we are all children of a loving God” (Locking Arms for Racial Harmony in America, jointly authored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the NAACP, 2020).