Yet the literature concerning police violence has been sparse and the discourse surrounding these issues has been limited within the public health community. Schools of public health have attempted to address the issue by looking introspectively at environments they have created and question if they are inclusive and safe for all students. At its 2015 State of the School Address, the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health reported that only 30% of staff and 16% of students belong to racial/ethnic minority groups—a decrease since 2009. The Deans acknowledged that they must go beyond issues of representation to foster a culture that is inclusive of all students, staff, and faculty. Furthermore, we believe it is the responsibility of all public health institutions to place social justice as a central tenet of their curricula and learning experience.
The HPHR Editorial Board is committed to promoting discourse around issues of racial justice and discrimination. We have published two commentaries on this topic, written by Professors Felton Earls and Nancy Krieger, as well as a research letter by Dr. Krieger and colleagues that evaluates national trends of deaths of White and Black Americans by legal intervention from 1960-2010. We also will be dedicating a special issue of the Harvard Public Health Review entitled Race, Politics, and Power in Spring 2015. As public health professionals, it is our responsibility to address racial injustices through research, discourse, and reform. And at this critical juncture, reneging on such responsibility is not an option.