Dear UCI community,

I think we can all appreciate that this has been a difficult week. UC Irvine Health came together this afternoon to kneel for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. We knelt at our desks, in clinic halls, on hospital wards, and outdoors. We all took a knee in solidarity, humility, and awareness.

We came together in remembrance of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others who lost their lives to racism in this country.

We came together to declare Black Lives Matter.

While today’s demonstration was powerful, tomorrow, and in the days thereafter, we must all work to ensure that the momentum and focus on racial justice in our health system and in our society is not lost.

In addition to sharing a few photos from today’s act of solidarity, I am pleased to share with you the remarks made by Kaosoluchi Enendu on the Healing Garden at the UCI Douglas Hospital. We are grateful to Kaosoluchi for her strength and leadership. Her words grounded us in the purpose of our actions today. Kaosoluchi is Co-founder of LEAD-ABC, Co-President of the UCI Gold Humanism Honors Society Chapter, SNMA Associate Regional Director, SNMA National Co-Chair of the Mental Health Committee and 4th year medical student in the UCI School of Medicine.

As we all kneel today, we must remember that kneeling was used as an act of oppression… 

But… today we will reclaim the power of this position in humility, awareness, and also solidarity with ongoing movements like Black Lives Matter and White Coats for Black Lives. 

We anticipate that your knee may hurt. You may feel discomfort. But we ask that you pause in this moment to focus and breathe, because we live in a world where Black people are being killed.

So please pause…

And breathe…

Breathe breath that George Floyd 

can no longer breathe.

Breathe breath that Breonna Taylor can no longer breathe.

Breathe breath that Ahmaud Arbery can no longer breathe.

Breathe breath that…

Mike Brown

Trayvon Martin

Sandra Bland 

Tony McDade

Tamir Rice

Chinedu Okobi, my cousin, and countless others whose lives mattered… Who cannot breathe.

Breathe breath and change.

Remember them and take time to learn about their lives and not just their deaths.

Please…

We will now kneel in remembrance of the ones we have lost.

~Kaosoluchi Enendu

Terrance Mayes, EdD
Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion
Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Science
University of California, Irvine