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What 'Black Lives Matter' Means to Me

As our faculty, staff and students work together for structural change and an end to racial injustice, we’ve asked some members of the College of Medicine’s community to share what the Black Lives Matter movement means to them.

Florence Gelo, associate professor, Department of Family, Community & Preventive Medicine

Florence Gelo, DMIN, NCPSYA

Associate Professor
Department of Family, Community & Preventive Medicine

As a white person, Black Lives Matter is a loud knock at my door to remind me that even though I have the privilege to be unaware of the day-to-day realities of the lives of Black people, I should not be. It has pushed me to recognize my white privilege and be more conscious of how I have sometimes acted out of unexamined stereotypes. Instead, I am continuing to learn about the ways that I (sometimes) and our society inflict violence on the bodies and psyches of Black people. BLM has motivated me even more to urgently act as an ally and as someone who witnesses, recognizes, listens to, and stands with Black students and colleagues, and other Black people in my everyday life. It impels me to use my relative power and privilege to continue to confront racist ideas and actions in my work and my life.

Vanessa Pirrone, PhD

Vanessa Pirrone, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Microbiology & Immunology

Black Lives Matter is a fundamental declaration; a scream, a cry and a global network saying that the lives of black people are just as valuable as all other lives. With the needless and incalculable losses of so many, sadly, Black Lives Matter has fallen on too many deaf ears. To me, Black Lives Matter is an imperative to fight racial injustice and inequity by listening and making radical behavior changes: "A democracy cannot thrive where power remains unchecked and justice is reserved for a select few. Ignoring these cries and failing to respond to this movement is simply not an option — for peace cannot exist where justice is not served"- John Lewis.

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