It's Up to All of Us
In response to the murder of George Floyd and to ensure that Black lives matter inside and outside the walls of Rush University System for Health, the Racial Justice Action Committee (RJAC) was launched on the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth in 2020.
View the RJAC members here.
RJAC deepens the racial justice and health equity work that Rush has been doing in the community for years by identifying new ways that we can all work together to advance social and racial justice along with health equity inside of Rush — and beyond. In short, it invites us all to explore, learn and identify ways we all can be the change.
Watch the video below to learn more about the Racial Justice Action Committee and the co-chairs.
The recommendations that came out of town halls, listening sessions and a systemwide survey will allow Rush to create C.H.A.N.G.E. using the following means:
- Communicate: Create a unified Rush DE&I statement that addresses racial justice and Rush's response.
- Hire and employ: Establish clear targets and timelines for increasing Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) in leadership roles systemwide (e.g., CEO, SVP, VP, AVP, directors and managers, faculty appointments academic leadership and Board)
- Align: Conduct a systemwide review of all Rush policies that govern employment, compensation, culture and consequences as it pertains to racialized impacts from said policies.
- Navigate: Create a system of people, policies and resources (e.g., departments, funding, legal assistants, etc.) to navigate patients, students, employees and others on campus to social work/mental health interventions as needed instead of security/policing interventions
- Generate: Collect and incorporate restorative justice practices and principles into our internal departments' existing conflict management and team-building trainings and processes.
- Educate: Create a process for ensuring that current DE&I/HR trainings and HR are racial-equity aligned and inclusive and develop new trainings on anti-racism, unconscious biases, cultural competence, allyship and racial justice as needed.
Rush DE&I and Racial Justice and Equity Commitment Statement
To make sure that we are remaining true and committed to the work, RJAC, along with members of the Rush Diversity Leadership Council and the Rush BMO Institute for Health Equity devised a commitment statement.
At Rush University System for Health, we are committed to establishing a climate that:
- Honors and respects our differences
- Delivers fair treatment and equitable access to care, opportunities and resources for patients, staff, students and faculty
- Actively engages and partners with Rush internal and external communities as leaders and decision-makers in the work
- Advances racial justice and equity by dismantling barriers, righting injustices, being actively anti-racist and promoting equity in health care, in learning, in research and in our communities across the Rush system
Let's Work Together to Be the Change
Systemic racism has claimed the lives of Black people for years. It can be hard to fathom just how extensive a toll this has been. This timeline of Black lives lost dates back to 2014 with the death of Laquan McDonald here in Chicago and ends with 2020. And the deaths continue.
Being able to see the number of lives lost helps to underscore the impact of systemic racism and why it's critically important that we all work together to dismantle it and actively become anti-racist. It's up to all of us to work individually to be the change so that collectively we can build a more equitable world for everyone where we are all able to live healthy, full lives.
We are all in this together.
Racist ideas are woven into the fabric of our society. It's in our media, our social systems, our culture and our institutions. And because it's so normalized, it feeds our implicit bias, which in turn feeds racism, particularly the structural kind. And though we may acknowledge implicit bias exists, that's not enough.
To dismantle racism you must be anti-racist vs. non-racist. Anti-racism means you actively stand up against racism while non-racism is when you watch racist things happen and do or say nothing to address them. This gap in understanding between the two concepts must be bridged, and we have to learn about our past to make progress as change agents and move forward toward a better future.
An important part of being a change agent is finding ways to educate yourself about the history of racism and how to take active steps to be anti-racist. Here is a list of resources to help:
- Anti-Racism & Racial Justice Resource Guide, developed by the Library of Rush University Medical Center in collaboration with the Racial Justice Action Committee. This list of articles, e-books and media along with other resources will deepen your knowledge and understanding of anti-racism and racial justice.
- The Medical Center Library also has compiled a supplemental list of e-books on anti-racism. Please check with the library about availability.
- Another helpful educational tool is this anti-racism resource list that's been distributed nationwide. This list provides a spectrum of different race-related attitudes that connects to resources that will help your understanding about racial inequality and bias.
- A view into how a simulation lab found an opportunity to tackle implicit bias, have difficult conversations and be anti-racist.
- Discussion guide for "Caste" by Isabel Wilkerson
Resources to address anti-Asian hate:
Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago and Bystander Intervention Trainings
Stop AAPI Hate
Stand Against Hatred
- Virtual Roundtable on Racism videos:
Part 1: Historical Perspective on Racism
Part 2: Racism is a Public Health Crisis (featuring David Ansell)
Part 3: Corporate America Responds
Part 4: Moving Beyond America’s Origin Story
Part 5: Taking Action
Part 6: What Can I Do?
Part 7: What is the MAAFA Redemption Project?
The goal of this framework is to move people toward deepening their knowledge and ultimately changing their behavior. The list includes many different types of useful resources from books and podcasts to videos and movies for all age levels.
Although the list is not exhaustive, it is fairly comprehensive and provides a blueprint to help you become much more attuned to your implicit bias, understand allyship, begin to have difficult conversations around the topic of racial injustice and develop actions you can take as an anti-racist.
Taking the time to educate ourselves about anti-racism and social justice and then sharing that knowledge with others is just one way that our Racial Justice Action Committee recommends that you can act as a change agent. Some other ways to begin engaging in the work right now include the following:
- Donate: Donations can be sharing your time, talents and/or dollars. Consider supporting some of our West Side partners:
- Participate: Find ways to connect with our external community by volunteering through our Rush Employee Volunteer Program. Sign up here to volunteer, and learn more about how you can engage with the community at Rush.
- Innovate: Out-of-the-box thinking can take us places we never imagined. If you have suggestions on opportunities and innovative ways to advance racial justice, please send your ideas to RJAC@rush.edu.
Using our voices is just one small way that we all can serve as change agents. Individual voices that come together in unison have power. Join us in encouraging everyone to find ways every day that we can all "Be the change." We're in this together.
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June 18 (Virtual)
Health Equity Action Day: A Multidimensional Approach to Affect Real Change
9 am - 11 am (Virtual Education Program)
Sponsored by the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, featuring keynote speaker: Michelle Silverthorn, Founder, INCLUSIONNATION, live panel discussion, statewide kick-off of the new Racial Equity in Healthcare Progress Report and Online Resource Hub and other events shared on the hub.