As an organization dedicated to saving lives, we feel compelled to speak when lives are lost and violence threatens our communities. The August shootings of Jacob Blake and three others remind us yet again that not all lives receive equal treatment in our country. While we mourn and rage, we must use our heartbreak to accelerate our work of driving racial justice.
At Be The Match our ability to support Black and Brown lives centers around our work with blood cancers and diseases like sickle cell. For too many years in our own early history we were blind to the disparate outcomes caused by a lack of diversity on our donor registry. As we work to overcome that imbalance, we confront the systemic racism that has infected our country for too long.
Black and Brown bodies have long suffered particular abuse in the medical space. One Be The Match donor recounted to us how, the night before her scheduled donation, her mother called her to ask again, “Are you sure you know what they are going to do to you?” This brave young woman chose to donate, knowing the life she would help save was one that too often is told it doesn’t matter. We are so grateful for the trust we are slowly rebuilding.
We are proud to have added our name to that of more than 50 Minnesota organizations and executive leaders who have joined Children’s Minnesota to stand united against acts of racism and violence. We continue to actively listen and learn and are pleased to host Rachel Hardeman, PhD, MPH, on a panel about racism in medicine at our upcoming annual The ONE Forum for the cellular therapy community. We are accelerating our 2015 pledge to prioritize adding diversity to our donor registry to give Black and Brown lives the same chance at a cure.
We are hopeful as people across the country are standing up and uniting for what’s right. We know we can achieve our goals when we recognize we are all in this together.