Words fail to capture the sorrow and anguish that we’ve experienced during the last several months. Nevertheless, it is words that we must use to express our distress at these events. Despite the heroic efforts of frontline medical personnel and essential workers, more than 100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and far too many losses are seen among the most vulnerable in our communities. These numbers are so overwhelming that they challenge comprehension, yet it is the personal impact of the loss of our loved ones and neighbors that touches each of us most deeply, and we at the FTDC extend our heartfelt sympathies.
We are equally outraged by another disease: the racism that continues to haunt American society and leads to intolerance, violence and also to unnecessary death. There is an all-too-long and sad history of bias that has repeatedly afflicted the communities where we live, and we loathe the overwhelming emotional and physical burden unfairly placed on those who suffer a consequence of that bias. We are profoundly saddened by the scientific studies revealing disproportionately greater risk for specific segments of our community, including the Black community and the elderly. Yet there is hope, and we strongly support scientific research that addresses these issues. Science alone cannot achieve our ultimate goal of a community that is healthy physically, cognitively, and spiritually. We are all created equal, and we must fight to overcome racism, religious persecution, cultural prejudice, and bigotry in all forms to achieve our goal.
We at the FTDC stand with the most vulnerable members of our community and are deeply committed to reducing health inequities and eliminating racial injustices most severely impacting the Black community. We are grateful for the support our team receives for our center’s mission to develop novel and creative approaches to studying and treating neurodegenerative conditions like FTD. We must now take responsibility, individually and collectively, for addressing the biases that infuse our society and detract from achieving our goal. And like other historic institutions, Penn has a troubled history of racial discrimination. We must recognize this, acknowledge it, and work every day to overcome these flaws. This will benefit us all. We seek to serve whoever might suffer from FTD, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin, and we will re-double our efforts to identify individual from underserviced communities, and particularly the Black community, with FTD. Here are some additional resources that address bias and what you can do to address this.
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