On June 1, 2020, the American Thoracic Society issued the following statement regarding the death of George Floyd:
The recent tragic death of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis and subsequent protests throughout the United States and in cities around the world call on us to again examine the role of the American Thoracic Society. As an international professional organization whose members are on the front lines of providing care to all citizens, our members are now experiencing first-hand some of the effects of these events.
As ATS members, we are strongly committed to our core principles: providing and innovating healthcare to all in need through clinical care, education, research, and discovery. It is not enough, however, to stand by idly and witness the effects of wanton cruelty and violence.
As a professional society, it is also important that we have an active voice in the ongoing debate that is racking the United States; the debate surrounding racial intolerance is once more at the forefront of our consciousness. Racism has been brought into sharp focus once again, as we are made aware of the racially-based disparities in healthcare delivery and outcomes that have become painfully obvious in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These disparities are at the core of the tragic events unfolding in Minneapolis and in other cities throughout the country.
We will never achieve our highest potential if we cannot look beyond the color of our fellow citizens’ skin or our countries of origin. We must not leave this challenge to others to act on. Rather, it is a test that we all must face and pass … together.