Navy Medicine Family,
This week the world witnessed the 8 minute and 46-second video which showed the tragic death of George Floyd, an African American man and father. As I watched this disturbing image, I was outraged and sadly reminded that countless people of color continue to experience and endure disparate treatment, injustice and racism today.
This is an emotionally raw and painful time for many and the countless global demonstrations against social injustice further highlight the fact that racism, prejudice and discrimination continue to exist. But unlike the coronavirus that we have been fighting over the past months, we can’t just stay at home and socially distance ourselves from racism. But we can do our part to lead with purpose, inspire others with our actions, break down racial and ethnic barriers. I encourage you to be a part of the solution and fight it, through collaborative and constructive efforts, and not divisive, destructive, and violent activities.
I am sensitive to the fact that the events that have taken place over the last couple of weeks have impacted each of us in different ways. This gives us good reason to reach out to our follow Sailors, Marines, and co-workers and have meaningful conversations. Now, more than ever, we must work on listening – truly listening – to each other. Active listening is what the best doctors, nurses, corpsmen, medical professionals, and leaders do. When we hear what people are saying, it increases our understanding and helps to bridge a divide. As medical professionals, we know that listening is the first step in healing.
As your Surgeon General, I want to emphasize that Our One Navy Medicine family is fully committed to the principles of diversity and equality and will not idly stand by. We will continue to discuss these issues and engage in further dialogue to make positive change that can help ensure we are demonstrating mutual respect, a foundational element of our core values. We will focus on our aspirations and how we’ll turn these in to actionable steps that we can take to ensure we are stronger, more cohesive and more effective as a team. Our unique histories and experiences make us better as a Navy and Marine Corps team and as a Nation. I thank each and every one of you for who you are and all that you do to demonstrate that we are stronger together.
Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, AOA
RADM, MC, USN
Surgeon General, U.S. Navy
Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery