"We Will Not Do Nothing"
— Chartis Comments on Racism
For the past several months the United States has been galvanized by the COVID-19 crisis before us. But there is a far more pervasive crisis we are facing that has been in our midst since our nation’s founding – the insidious and soul-crushing crisis of racism and racial inequity. This crisis has exploded in the zeitgeist of the moment in the past several weeks with the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the tens of thousands of black, indigenous, people of color who have died disproportionately as victims of COVID-19.
While our hearts have been traumatized by this recent and incomprehensible violence, we can permit no denial that these events are only the latest link in a four-hundred-year chain of ever-present racism and physical violence repeatedly perpetuated against black people in America.
We at Chartis have not been, and never will be, silent or still amidst the scourge of structural, institutionalized or behavioral racism. We hear, and we are activated by, the pain directly felt by those within our Chartis community who have been most affected by these searing incidents and the underlying systemic oppression they reflect. We stand together as Chartisans in support. We also hear and are activated by the pain directly felt by our clients and the patients and families they serve in this agonizing time.
While our commitment to the values of Diversity and Inclusion has been foundational to our identity and ethos as a firm, we know that that is not enough. We must step up further. We must continue to listen, and then listen more. We must open our hearts and minds to the fact that we have not been without culpability on this journey – that despite our intentions, we have in many ways been part of the system that undergirds the challenges we are seeking to right. And then, we must step up further still.
Antiracism is organic to Chartis and our mission. We are a healthcare firm. The Chartis mission is “To materially improve healthcare delivery in the world”. It is a sad truth that racism is a major factor in health disparities in our country. A black woman in the United States has a 22% greater probability of dying from cardiac disease than a white woman, a 71% greater probability of dying from cervical cancer, and a 243% greater likelihood of dying from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. The rate of non-Hispanic black infant mortality is more than twice that of the non-Hispanic white infants. To be dedicated to improving healthcare is to be dedicated to dismantling the very underpinnings of racism. Chartis is dedicated to these outcomes to our fullest and deepest measure. Full stop.
We will guide, direct, and grow our firm through the lens of antiracism. We will hold ourselves accountable. As a firm, we will remain guided by a teaching as old as the Scriptures and as recent as the writings of Martin Luther King Jr. and Desmond Tutu — that for evil to succeed, all it requires is that good men and women do nothing.
We will not do nothing.
1 The Commonwealth Fund “In Focus: Reducing Racial Disparities in Health Care by Confronting Racism” (9/28/18)
2 The Kaiser Family Foundation Infant Mortality Rate by Race/Ethnicity