General Jun 10, 2020

An Important Message to the Oak Street Health Community

To the Oak Street Health Community,

Our team is horrified by the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minnesota. This event is tragic and events like it that impact individuals and communities of color are tragically commonplace in our country.

We want to acknowledge the trauma this specific event has caused and to denounce the racism that causes trauma every day in this country for thousands of Oak Street Health patients, team members, and millions of other people. To the members of our Oak Street community who are Black or African American, please know that we stand together as a united community.

We’re currently facing a pandemic that is significantly impacting black and brown communities. COVID-19 is unfortunately, but predictably, shining a light on what we, through our work and experiences, know is broadly true of health outcomes in this country.

Some of us are directly affected -- but all of us must reject this as normal”. At Oak Street, we’re proud to do our part to provide access to high-quality healthcare. We also know that there is still much to do -- we can and will improve and will hold ourselves accountable to doing so.

Former President Obama released a statement on Friday that we’d like to excerpt here:

It’s natural to wish for life to just get back to normal as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. But we have to remember that for millions of Amercians, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly normal” - whether it’s while dealing with the healthcare system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.

This shouldn’t be normal” in 2020 America. It can’t be normal”. If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.

It will fall mainly on the officials of Minnesota to ensure that the circumstances surrounding George Floyd’s death are investigated thoroughly and that justice is ultimately done. But it falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station - including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day - to work together to create a new normal” in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.

Oak Street Health is fiercely dedicated to being part of that new normal”.