As leaders of the Alcohol Research Group (ARG), a program of the Public Health Institute, we are writing in solidarity to unequivocally condemn pervasive racial injustice and the targeting, brutal treatment, and killing of Black people by police. We fully support the Black Lives Matter Movement, along with efforts to reform police departments, improve public safety, and develop means of addressing the needs of Black communities and other communities of color. We commit ourselves anew to anti-racism work to help illuminate and address the profound and myriad health-related effects of racism and discrimination in all its various forms, as we also join with others toward eliminating racism and discrimination themselves.
Following upon a long history of research on alcohol-related and mental health disparities, in recent years ARG has intensified its focus on the pernicious effects of racism, prejudice, stigma, and poverty that disproportionately afflict those who are, and historically have been, systemically disadvantaged in our communities. In keeping with Black Lives Matter, we will strive to advance research by critically examining our own work and that of our partners to ensure an anti-racist approach. To do this, we recognize that ARG must rapidly evolve to better fulfill our broader mission, values, and goals.
Thus, we have established immediate commitments to engage in self-reflection, enhance the structures that support diversity and inclusion at ARG, amplify our reach with and within these vital communities, and strengthen our effectiveness.
First, we will actively seek to increase the diversity of our scientific staff and research collaborators. This will entail assessment and revision of our current policies and processes that might inadvertently constrain diversification.
Second, we will assemble a Community Advisory Board to provide their input and perspectives on our work to help ensure that it more effectively reaches and addresses needs of diverse communities, especially Black communities and other communities of color, and to facilitate outreach to share research results with community members to inform prevention and policy.
Third, to become more critically self-aware of exclusion and privilege as it manifests in various forms within institutions, we will create a broadly constituted Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to assist us in uncovering these issues and developing long-term, ongoing strategies to address them at ARG.
We pledge to evaluate our progress on these fronts and to share results with our partners, interested constituencies, stakeholders, funders, and communities of color in order to help achieve true racial/ethnic equity.
— ARG Leadership