Statement from the Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health on Racial Injustice in America

Gates Institute’s mission is to improve the lives of the most marginalized and vulnerable among us – utilizing science and scholarship to bring about social change.  We believe that all lives are of equal value, and the recent and historic attacks on black Americans and communities of color around the globe goes against who we are as an organization. We stand with those calling for an end to the ongoing racial injustice, whether overt, implicit, institutional or structural.  George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor’s lives mattered.  Black lives matter.

While the world continues to fight against the greatest global pandemic of our lifetime, we must stand up and wage two wars simultaneously - one against COVID-19 and the other against racial injustice and violence. Both are public health issues and both disproportionately impact communities of color in the U.S. and the marginalized around the globe.  Unfortunately, both continue to surface with persistence, furthering our public health crisis.
 
Therefore, the global health community must not only challenge ourselves to “be better,” but to be actively anti-racist in everything that we do and everything that we stand for, including the work we carry out each day.  This is not a time for silence or inaction.  Gates Institute has committed to addressing social and structural inequalities and prejudices by requiring unconscious bias and discrimination training and participation in a series of crucial conversations. We will also increase the prioritization of disenfranchised voices in our conferences, convenings, lecture series, and everyday work.
 
Together, we can and will overcome these scourges which continue to threaten the health, safety, wellbeing and lives of our colleagues, friends, allies, and partners around the world. 
 
In solidarity,
Oying
 
Jose “Oying” Rimon II
Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health
Senior Scientist, Population Family and Reproductive Health
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health