“To respect and protect children is to preserve humanity”
Those were the words of Northside’s legendary founders Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark. Long before the terminology “disparities” was adopted, they spent their lives fighting systemic societal inequities and trying to have positive impact upon what we now refer to as the “social determinants of health”. They adopted a persistent, determined, and non-violent stance.
As evidenced by the “Black-White Doll Study” used in the Brown versus the Board of Education Supreme Court decision, the negative social determinants experienced by communities of color had lifelong deleterious impact upon this nation and its children. The Clarks spent their lives serving humanity and building Northside, which has respected and strengthened children and families for almost 75 years. Given the values of the Clarks, and their hopes for a better future for all, we at Northside were outraged by the events of the past week during which we witnessed yet another racist act…the brutal murder of a black man at the hands of a police officer, sworn to protect humanity.
As we lived through COVID-19 and its disproportionate impact on communities of color…suffering through deaths, hospitalizations, unemployment, hunger and more…we were forced to bear witness to an event that, unlike COVID, was not unprecedented. For far too long, Black and Brown People have been victims of Racism that impacts self-esteem, emotional well-being, sense of security, the pursuit of happiness, and so much more. Throughout its 75-year history, Northside has sought to “provide respect and to preserve humanity”. The anger aroused by this outrageous event can no longer be contained. It reflects the longstanding, simmering, internalized pain experienced by our communities and by our nation. Everyone has been affected. We stand with the protesters, determined to ensure that racism is undone.
This is a time when we must stand together with our staff, our community, and our nation to end the travesty of Racism and the violence it engenders, to assure justice for all. We all have much work to do.
Thelma Dye, Ph.D.
Hilde L. Mosse Executive Director and CEO