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During This Time of Immense Challenges, Let Us All Come Together

Published in Media Releases Author: Ken Holmen, MD, CentraCare President & CEO

Over the last three months, all of us have experienced unprecedented challenges and upheaval caused by COVID-19. Our African-American, Latinx, Somali, and low-income communities have been disproportionately impacted, while our Asian and Asian-American neighbors have been targeted with vitriol because of the disease’s origin. Our families and friends have lost loved ones and jobs. Their security is compromised, and they are afraid.

These communities, in particular, have carried a heavy burden. This weight has been made even heavier by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia – just in the last few weeks. Prior to that, the list of names is countless. These deaths reinforce the sad truth that people of color remain vulnerable to senseless violence, even during a pandemic. When they are layered upon the health inequities that we know exist, it is apparent that racism is a public health crisis.

This sobering reality is no less true in St. Cloud and across Central Minnesota. We have made national news in the last few years because of our unacceptance of diverse people. This is regretful and we want to be clear that this behavior will not be accepted at CentraCare. It does not reflect our values and as individuals, organizations and a larger community, we must all do better.

CentraCare’s Purpose Statement explicitly states that “We value human dignity. We treat people with kindness, respect and acceptance.” Especially in these trying times, recognizing our common humanity is vital. If one segment of our broader community suffers, or one person in our CentraCare community suffers, we all suffer. There is no room in a place of healing for this to exist.

We understand the importance of listening to the needs of our black and brown communities and serving those needs, as we do with other CentraCare communities. Our goal is to be an inclusive environment – for employees and patients alike.

We recognize the anguish that many people may be feeling as a result of the racism and inequity that is in front of them in the news or in their communities. For these individuals, know that we stand with you. The leaders at CentraCare are committed to making our organizations and our communities safe and welcoming places where you can be yourself fully.

During this time of immense challenges, let us all come together to honor our differences and our commonality.