To our community,
The devastating events that took place this past week in Boulder, Colorado and Atlanta, Georgia are heartbreaking. They display the grim manifestation of multiple epidemics that for too long have gone unchecked. While the economic and social stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic are always on our minds, both gun violence and racism across the country have been an ongoing crisis long beforehand.
The Colorado Academy of Family Physicians reaffirms our commitment to advancing equity in every form, from anti-racism to freedom from societal violence, in our organization, in medicine, and in our communities. Last week’s shooting in Atlanta was the culmination of a cresting wave of bigotry and violence toward Asian American and Pacific Islander communities that must be stopped. Monday’s tragedy in Boulder was the seventh mass shooting in the US just in the past seven days. We cannot accept either of these tragic acts of gun violence as normalcy.
We stand in solidarity against all acts of violence, and we reiterate our long-term commitment to act as allies in the work toward social and racial justice. We also want to challenge everyone to reflect on how they can be a part of the solution — how can each one of us contribute to a more equitable society? If you need a place to start, the AAFP has assembled resources on the social determinants of health and on gun violence.
Family physicians take on the role of providing compassionate care amidst social upheaval of any type. We recognize the impact that community violence, gender-based discrimination, and systemic racism have on the day-to-day lives of patients and physicians, and we know the specific burden people of color are forced to carry. We are working toward building an inclusive and equitable space for our membership to reflect, develop skills, and respond to advance social and racial justice.
We have undertaken steps to reorient the CAFP toward seeking equity in our advocacy and our own operations. We recently took a step toward addressing gun violence as a public health issue when we supported a responsible gun storage law that would protect minors from unauthorized access to firearms (House Bill 21-1106). We continue to analyze policies using a health equity lens and will engage in efforts resulting from these events to reduce violence.
In addition, members of the board and staff are engaged in an active learning process to better understand the positive role we can play in advancing justice. Our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Taskforce, composed of CAFP board members, convenes regularly to provide direction for our organization’s goals. We will share more as this work continues.
Today, we grieve with our neighbors in Boulder, our fellow communities in Atlanta, and all those across our country who have suffered a loss from gun violence and the traumas of racism. Family physicians play a key role in helping our patients heal and recover. We thank you for your service, and like you, we know more must be done.
Dr. Gina Carr, MD, MPH
Family Physician in Grand Junction