The final days of 2020 brought a significant news story highlighting claims of ongoing racism at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the final straw for one of the Pacific Northwest’s most respected, loved, and dedicated leaders who worked there. But, of course, Seattle Children’s Hospital is one of many white-led institutions (including Amara) that must take accountability for how we confront and dismantle racism.
Dr. Ben Danielson is the head of Odessa Brown Medical Clinic (part of Seattle Children’s Hospital) and a beloved Amara Board Member, and the latest esteemed leader in our community to demonstrate courage confronting institutional racism. According to an article in Crosscut, which shares that Dr. Danielson has resigned from his post as head of Odessa Brown in protest, “…the hospital’s executives would offer symbolic overtures to equity but take little action toward righting its own wrongs and those of the broader medical system…particularly around a lack of translation services and the frequency with which security was being called on patients of color.”
There have been many acts of injustice in 2020 that led to protest and demands for transformation. If none of those have awoken us yet, this one should – not just for Seattle Children’s but for all organizations, including Amara. We need to genuinely confront racism in all forms as we seek to create new systems that treat and care for all people equitably, whether that system is health care or child welfare.
Amara is a historically white-led organization that continues to confront our own complicity in a racist system and has dedicated ourselves to addressing the ways white supremacy has harmed Black and Indigenous children and families, as well as our staff and our volunteers – particularly BIPOC. We work every day to build a new anti-racist institution. We know that Black and Indigenous children are more likely to be separated from their families and placed in foster care than their white peers and remain in foster care longer. We know that it is only by creating a diverse and inclusive workplace and prioritizing racial equity in all we do, that we’re able to meet our mission to ensure long-term wellbeing for all children and families.
We must continue to speak up
, in solidarity with those who are calling for justice for Black and Brown people who have been and continue to be harmed by institutional racism. And, we need to hold ourselves accountable in taking clear and specific steps towards meaningful change – as individuals, as organizations, as governmental leaders, and as a community.
Amara will continue to fight for change, and we commit ourselves even more deeply to anti-racism work today and every day. Together, with our community, we will show up to support and care for children and families, with love and justice at the core. We hope and need you to do the same.