Why We Must Occupy the UW School of Medicine

On December 6th, 2017, Ohenewaa Nkrumah, a Black queer non-binary student, launched a sit-in to call attention to a pattern of ongoing institutional racism at the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM). For a week, Nkrumah and Students for an Anti-Racist UWSOM (SARU), who organized and participated in this demonstration, drew many community members, faculty and other students at UW to the Magnuson Health Sciences Center.

As an extension of the sit-in, students and community members further demonstrated at the White Coat Transition Ceremony on December 11th, making the institution’s continued investment in racism visible as students transitioned to their clinical phase. After the demonstration, members of SARU created a press release detailing both action and demands to the UW SOM.

The Seattle Peoples Party calls for solidarity with SARU and their efforts to decolonize and transform the UW SOM into a place of healing for all. SARU has asked community members to support their efforts to end institutional racism at the UW SOM by supporting their initiatives:

  1. Help us build the Liberation Medicine School: For those interested in helping to design, organize, implement the Liberation Medicine School – especially those from marginalized communities who, due to lived experiences, carry deep knowledge about healing and medicine – please email liberationmedicineschool@gmail.com
  2. Contribute to funding the School: For those interested in contributing monetarily to the creation and running of this school, please go here
  3. Witness and share stories: For those interested in keeping up with more narratives about the student experience in medical training institutions, please follow us here; if you are interested in sharing your own narratives with us for them to be published on our blog, please message us at uwsomantiracism@gmail.com
  4. Demand accountability: For those interested in demanding accountability from the UW School of Medicine/interested in expressing your concerns, please email members of the UW SOM administration
  5. Join us or stay tuned: For those interested in joining and or following our protest of UWSOM, please follow us here

You can also read more at Ohenewaa’s Op-Ed in the South Seattle Emerald detailing her experience with the deafening silence of institutional racism.

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