For years, African-American citizens of the United States of America have been killed at the hands of law enforcement. Unfortunately, this was the case for the late George Floyd and Breonna Taylor — two Black citizens who were killed by police officers in recent months.

Furthermore, Ahmaud Arbery, an African-American man who was jogging in a predominately white neighborhood, was killed by two white males.

Not only are these unlawful practices frequent, but they’re also followed with innumerable acquittals in the courts that have failed to supply justice for the individuals. These instances of injustice are obvious acts of racism and police brutality, which should be condemned at the highest level of government.

The University of Texas Medical Branch, being the first medical school in Texas, has been a leader amongst its peers in serving a diverse student population. Many of its students, being people of color, have been subject to some of the deep-seeded disparities at the hands of law.

The Student Government Association at the medical branch stands with all students in protesting systemic racism and police brutality. We support the efforts of the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement and declare our position in the matters at hand.

We, as a student body, condemn historic and current police violence against the Black community.

We outright castigate the killers of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and countless others.

We, as a student body, stand together to support one another if this has caused our fellow students to experience deep hurt, festering anger and lamenting during this unprecedented time in history.

We, as the Student Government Association, are here to engage in dialogue that could lead to tangible change even here in our community.

We would like to start by calling on the administration at the medical branch, the state government and the federal government to declare racism a public health emergency that has been at the root of health disparities for several generations.

There is no place in our university, our homes or in our hearts for the prejudice that has eclipsed our nation for so long.

In pursuing higher education in health care and academic research, the students of the medical branch have already demonstrated deep commitment to improving the human condition. We urge you to turn that powerful compassion toward each other — and yourself — in this difficult time. Listen to your peers, understand the pain and take time to reflect upon your feelings.

We are stronger for every culture and unique story that each student brings to the medical branch. Thank you, each of you, for choosing to share your story with all of us at Student Government Association.

Editor’s Note: This column is a statement from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Student Government Association — and not from the medical branch itself.

Aliza Alcabasa, Clint A. Haines, Connor O’Brien, and Xavier Rice are all executive committee members of the Student Government Association Senate at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.


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(26) comments

Wayne D Holt

"We support the efforts of the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement and declare our position in the matters at hand."

The Student Government Association of UTMB should certainly support the prosecution of law enforcement officers who target suspects based only on race and especially actions by ANY American that promotes race-based division, hatred or violence; that would truly be a civil rights movement.

Which is why I would like to hear from these same students if they would agree with one of the earliest Black Lives Matter organizers, cofounder and core organizer of Black Lives Matter Louisville., who penned demands such as:

"White people, if you’re inheriting property you intend to sell upon acceptance, give it to a black or brown family. You’re bound to make that money in some other white privileged way."

"White people, especially white women (because this is yaw specialty — Nosey Jenny and Meddling Kathy), get a racist fired. Yaw know what the f**k they be saying. You are complicit when you ignore them. Get your boss fired cause they racist too."

"Backing up No. 7 (another demand), this should be easy but all those sheetless Klan, Nazi’s and Other lil’ d**k-white men will all be returning to work. Get they ass fired. Call the police even: they look suspicious."

She also offered Twitter tags like #RunUsOurLand #Reparations #YouGonLearnToday #RunUsOurMoney •

These are not just the extreme comments of a person who is out of step with the BLM organization. BLM as an organization is at the forefront of the calls to erase capitalism in America and replace it with socialism, defund/disband police departments and many other positions that are totally out of step with most Americans, no matter their race.

If white people are going to confront the latent racism that remains in our institutions and in our hearts as we should, are the vast majority of decent people of color also going to stand up and condemn blatant racism when done by non-whites?

Racism, sexism, intolerance and violence are not the exclusive vices of any single race. They should be confronted publicly and condemned loudly when they rear their ugly head. It's time ALL people of goodwill take a stand for an America where color is forgotten and character counts. It will take all of us to get there.

David Hardee

The founders of the medical school you are attending - Ashbel Smith MD, plantation owner, and Colonel 2nd Infantry Confederate Army. And, George Sealy, volunteered as a private in the Confederate Army, and, accepting no pay or promotions for his military service. Obviously, BLM will find that requires action. As DECLARED BLM members will you denounce the institution your attending and seek out and destroy all historical references to the Confederate founders as is BLM tradition.

Be aware that a public article intending to assault SOCIETY IN GENERAL and the police specifically for racism and brutality opens you to scrutiny for the credibility of your claims and your purity from countercharges.

You spoke in generalities which places you personally in the universe you are condemning. Therefore, you were exposed and infected with the “white systemic racism.” Did you find a remedy and heal yourself? If so, it is your duty find and to prescribe that remedy for the other carriers of supposed “systemic white racism,” especially those asymptomatic who are spreading the infection.

The public (a generality) has given you tremendous aid on your trek to achieve your desire(s). It is highly probable that you are still in the debit of the public. Additionally, there is a highly probable that A mid-20’s medical student had little experience of life without support. Highly probable that your elitism is the product of a favored existence with two or more parents, reasonable socio-economic resources, good physical and mental attributes, and social graces. From that elite pinnacle, your perspective of what occurs in the environment where these atrocities, you condemn as frequent, between police and their most often needy patients is induced from not experiences but from anecdotal influences, only. A diploma only gives the holder a qualification to enter the pursuit of actual experience/employment. Possessing a diploma does not endow wisdom. A mid -20 student usually has no personal experience for a family and providing its needs, managing the dynamic of family, school and neighborhood personalities, paying mortgages, maintain tranquility while navigating the world filled with hurdles, and then to have cognitive processed sufficient events to be wise.

I have taken all this time and effort to support my opinion that your published article is merely a rant, audacious, and imprudent.

Similarities of police and medical professions:

Aside from, the patient comes to the well-paid physician, and the lesser salaried cop goes to the needy, they are both intended to render services.

It is difficult to understand why a group of medical students would intentionally denigrate the police profession. It has been proven on occasion police officers have acted irrationally causing harm and sometimes death. It is also proven that despite the pledge to “do no harm” on occasion there is malpractice/errors in the medical profession causing frequent harmed and sometimes intentional killings. There is documented proof that some medical providers will select a specific classification of patients and then intentionally kill them.

Since you chose to list police atrocities here are some medical profession atrocities: July 14, 2019 - Texas Nurse Kills 5 Patients, 34 patients of a Kansas City doctor killed with diluted chemotherapy by a pharmacist,

Dr. Swango On Aug. 23, 1985, in a plea deal, Swango was convicted of aggravated battery and sentenced to five years in prison for poisoning his co-workers; then in On July 11, 2000, Swango was sentenced to 3 life terms for - no telling how many people Swango killed in total … though there’s reason to believe the number is more than 60.

It is so sad that these medical students are willfully inserting themselves into the racially polluted political arena. These, to be doctors, defied their pledge to do no harm when Their publication goes out to advise only one specific patient “society in general” and that patient has been ill-served and subjected to malpractice.

There is a great need for good doctors. And there is an overabundance of complaining malcontents. Be a good Doctor!

Bailey Jones

There's nothing more entertaining than listening to old white men telling young black people what's wrong with them.

Any response to the tragedy of racial injustice other than "let's fix the problem" is simply complacency and complicity.

Carlos Ponce

Bailey, your idea that "old white men" cannot mentor the young of any color is racist.

Bailey Jones

Then, let me mentor you, Carlos. I don't care what BLM says or does. I don't care what Chanelle Helm says or does. I don't care what Louis Farrakhan, or AOC, or Al Sharpton, or any other black person says or does. Because system racism isn't their problem. There is NOTHING that any black person can say or do to knock the racism out of a racist cop, or a racist boss, or a racist judge, or a racist loan officer, or racist Karen at the park.. Systemic racism isn't a black problem, it's a white problem.

How do I know it's a white problem? Because white people refuse to talk about it. Any other issue and the OWM's here are all over it. But when it comes to the racism inherent in the white power structure all I see is deflection, denial, condescension, and "mentoring". You can "mentor" black people until the racist cows come home, but that does NOTHING to address the problem.

Physician, heal thyself.

Carlos Ponce

Bailey posts, "Because system racism isn't their problem." Therefore racism is not systemic but sporadic, might even say "rare".

Carlos Ponce

By the way, Bailey, the "woman at the park" was AMY, not KAREN.

Wayne D Holt

Bailey, I offered this Stokely Carmichael quote in a previous post a while back that you didn't bite at the time but I'm giving you a second chance at the apple: "“If a white man wants to lynch me, that's his problem. If he's got the power to lynch me, that's my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it's a question of power." I disagree with Mr. Carmichael on many things, but on this, I think it is a brilliant observation of the obvious.

This sounds like a paraphrase of what you point out in your first paragraph. There truly is nothing that anyone can do for an unapologetic racist. HOWEVER, there is plenty we can do to make sure that attitude does not have an opportunity to impact others.

Just IMHO, I believe it is a strategic mistake to spend so much time trying to correct behavior, with much of that behavior being micro aggressions that most normal folks don't consider racism. Why not let haters hate, if they choose, but make damn sure they can't lynch anyone physically, economically, politically or any other way a civilized people wouldn't permit?

Bailey Jones

I don't really disagree with you Wayne, about "microaggressions". But that's not what the BLM movement is about, and it's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about institutional racism, particularly in the justice system. I'll leave you with the same 3 dozen studies highlighting systemic racism in the justice system that I've offered up twice, and have twice gone without comment. These aren't "microaggressions", this is life and death - equality under the law - something that should outrage anyone who loves the constitution.

As far as Stokely's comment goes - I read it as a call to action to demand change, exactly what BLM represents. And I can remember many OWMs of my youth who would quote Stokely just as you have quoted Chanelle Helm, and for precisely the same reason - to avoid looking at the problem.

In a relationship that's based on unequal power - master / slave, management / labor, cop / citizen - the roles available to each are different. The powerless can only petition for change, and when that fails either accept their lot, or take drastic action - riot or revolution, for instance. The powerful are who have to make the change. In the best world, the powerful join with the powerless and both demand change. If enough of the powerful join up, then the balance of power begins to favor change. This is where we are today.

You and I are among the powerful. Not that either of us has any real power as individuals, but we are in the privileged class of OWM who can live without fear in any neighborhood we can afford, who can get any job we're qualified for, who won't be pulled over by a cop or followed around a retail store because we "look suspicious", who Karen never calls the cops on, who some nut job in Bayou Vista would never draw his guns on just because we pulled into his driveway by mistake. We're part of the class that rules the nation, holds 90% of the wealth and all of the cards.

So I see racial injustice as a failure of my America, a crime committed by my government, a stain on my character, and something that I need to help remedy - even if all I can do is admit that we have a problem.

"Seems to me that the institutions that function in this country are clearly racist, and that they're built upon racism." - Stokely Carmichael

Also, just to illustrate how close we are, historically, to America's premier racist institution, I read an article today in WAPO, about a guy named Dan Smith, one of the few surviving Americans who is the son of a slave. or if you don't have a WAPO subscription, an older, but less relevant, NPR story -

Wayne D Holt

"In a relationship that's based on unequal power - master / slave, management / labor, cop / citizen - the roles available to each are different. The powerless can only petition for change, and when that fails either accept their lot, or take drastic action - riot or revolution, for instance. The powerful are who have to make the change. In the best world, the powerful join with the powerless and both demand change. If enough of the powerful join up, then the balance of power begins to favor change. This is where we are today."

I have to agree with this or else reject the legitimacy of the American Revolution. So, I agree.

Carlos Ponce

"There's nothing more entertaining than listening to old white men telling young black people what's wrong with them." So Bailey must be entertained when "old white men" like Joe Biden tells a Black man "Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black."

David Hardee

Carlos, please stay on the point that a cadre of medical students has been stimulated to present a rant in support of BLM. This is a direct result of the influence of anecdotal stories, These stories even if true are penetrating impressional minds. That is the reason we see the diversity, size, and viciousness in the demonstrations. The media, activist and megaphones of progressive liberal members of government all are into the inoculation of the impressional mind with the hypothetical "systemic white racism." That form of brainwashing is the culprit. Stay on point.

Bailey Jones

Yes, Joe is endlessly entertaining. I especially enjoy when it looks like his dentures are falling out.

Bailey Jones

I should say "some" white people don't talk about it. It's been heart warming to see the millions of white people who have come out to protest in support of BLM and against systemic racism, especially those who have organized in so many mostly white, mostly conservative, small towns. We're at a seminal moment in America, history is being make. Many of us will be on the right side of it. Many of us will not.

Carlos Ponce

So what does Bailey think about old White man Biden saying "if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't Black."

David Hardee

Bailey – you were dormant on this article till I commented. I am flattered by your being my stalker but please do not post inane snippets. Those snippets reveal un-thought-through reactions and open you to ridicule.

Your snippet “There's nothing more entertaining than listening to old white men telling young black people what's wrong with them.” If Dan Freeman reads your snippet, he will point out that ‘what’s should be – what is and “let’s” should be - let us.

Please be precise we are exhausting Dan with all these errors he wants and needs to point out. I recall Dan’s reaction to the word “inculpated.” Dan claimed it was invented by a Trumper (Dan invented Trumper), Even Dan can be wrong.

Please excuse my diverting.

Back to Bailey’s snippet “Any response to the tragedy of racial injustice other than "let's fix the problem" is simply complacency and complicity.”

To your “old white men telling young black people what's wrong with them”

My comment never addresses blacks nor does it tell blacks what is wrong with them. The article is posted by a student body of a medical institution not a black medical student body. And I criticize the article for denigrating police while being culpable for the similar acts they denigrate.

Bailey, your second sentence is perfect in inferring “any response” (pro, con, or explanatory) “”to the tragedy of racism is simply complacency and complicity” infers “any response” is effectively useless and "let's fix the problem" is a mantra we should all adopt. Your i

nferring there exists a “fix.” Please elucidate with where we can find this fix. I am all into a fix. Please supply it!

Hope your fix will purge the hypothetical “systemic white racism” and cleans the minds of those being influenced to demonstration, looting and destroying under mantras of that are racist oriented like BLM.

Bailey Jones

Actually, I was moved to comment by Wayne, someone whose opinion I respect, though rarely agree with. I respond to Carlos for kicks and giggles. I respond to you when you address me personally, because that seems like good manners.

Carlos Ponce

No kicks or giggles for "So what does Bailey think about old White man Biden saying 'if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't Black.' "?

You don't have to answer, Bailey, but your silence speaks VOLUMES.

Bailey Jones

Oh, sorry Carlos - I thought my previous response spoke to this. I think Biden's statement was idiotic. OWM - even those on the side of the angels - have no right to speak for those in whose shoes they have not tread . If I ever do, I hope someone will correct me.

Trudy Deen Davis

I think the information in this column have not been "fact checked". As for injustice through the court systems, many cases that were viewed as abuse by police resulted in "not guilty" because additional evidence such as different video views of what REALLY occurred were found, but never publicized in the media. Juries must follow the law. As in many cases where we are outraged at the outcomes, evidence that is eligible for admission often cannot be used. Juries can only make decisions based on the case put in front of them. Same as for cases of police being murdered while in the line of duty.

Trudy Deen Davis

"According to statistics compiled by the Washington Post, the number of unarmed black men killed by police so far this year is eight. The number of unarmed white men killed by police over the same time period is 11,"

Bailey Jones

Whites are 63.4% of the population, blacks are 13.4%. (Latinx = 15.3%)

If 11 white men were killed, then the proportional number of black men based on population would be 11*(13.4%/63.4%) = 2.3 . So blacks are being killed at a rate 8/2.3 = 3.5 times that of whites.

Carlos Ponce

Included in WAPO's list of "unarmed black men killed by police" is Melvin Watkins age 54. The investigation and video show the following:

“shortly after the deputy arrived on scene, the suspect turned his vehicle in the direction of the deputy and accelerated while disregarding verbal commands from the deputy to stop. As the suspect vehicle accelerated toward the deputy, the deputy was forced to flee backward into a neighboring yard as he was blocked in by his parked vehicle and the suspect’s vehicle. As the deputy fled backward he fired shots into the vehicle.”

Multiple sources who watched case video but asked not to be identified said the recording showed Watkins on a violent course and the deputy acted with reason. Sources spoke with WBRZ on condition of anonymity from various levels of the investigative process.

The deputy was originally called to a disturbance at the house because Watkins was trying to force his way into the home, authorities said.

Chaotic calls to 911 about the incident were also obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit and show a potential fear among the people who had gathered at the home for a party when Watkins arrived.

“Can I get a police officer here. Please hurry up. They fighting,” a woman told the operator. “[Watkins] had a knife!”

“Someone is going to be dead before y’all get over here,” the caller told the dispatcher.

Did Melvin Watkins have a firearm? No. But aiming a vehicle at a deputy sheriff can be deadly.

“I am confident that Louisiana State Police will be thorough and impartial in completing their investigation,” EBR [East Baton Rouge] Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said.

“… It is tragic when any life must be taken even to prevent the loss of further life. We thank the community for their continued support and patience as the investigation is carried out to completion.”

Scrutiny of those listed shows WAPO does not tell the whole story.

Carlos Ponce

Also included on WAPO's list of "unarmed black men killed by police" is 33-year-old Channara Tom Pheap:

At a news conference, Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen said her office reviewed a slew of evidence — including crime scene photographs, police cruiser video and five eyewitness statements — that all together corroborated Williams' account he shot Pheap because he feared for his life when Pheap choked him, grabbed his Taser and used it on him during a struggle at a local apartment complex.

"Based upon all the witness statements, the forensic proof and certainly the Taser, we believe that at the time (Williams) did believe that his life was in danger and that Mr. Pheap was in fact going to kill him," Allen said. "Therefore after a review of all those facts, we’ve determined that it was in fact a justifiable shooting."

Bailey Jones

Carlos, you used to teach math - here's a simple one for you - how many justifiable shootings does it take to justify the murder of George Floyd?

Carlos Ponce

The killing of George Floyd was not justified. Was his killing the result of racism or the two men's previous encounters. Wait for the trial.

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