We, at Charlotte AHEC are deeply saddened and outraged by the recent and continuing violence inflicted upon Asian Americans. The efforts to hold perpetrators and enablers accountable and to prevent such crimes should be a common cause of evident importance to all Americans. We stand together in solidarity with the Asian American community in the firm belief that any form of racial discrimination and violence against any segment of our society is an attack on all of us.

Hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen dramatically over the last year. A report released by Stop AAPI Hate reported that 3,795 incidents were received by the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021. According to the report, this number only represents a fraction of the actual number of hate incidents that actually occurred. This report was released on the same day that a gunman murdered eight people - six of whom were Asian and seven of whom were women - at three Atlanta-area spas.

Silence is complicity. We urge that racism, hate crimes and violent acts be identified as unacceptable in any community in this nation. We urge that enabling and supporting these acts be identified as equally onerous and unacceptable. We urge reaching out in support of one another and taking a stand against hatred in all its expressions.

Charlotte AHEC's mission is to improve the supply, distribution, retention and quality of primary care and other healthcare practitioners in medically underserved areas. However, we commit to the alleviation of inequities in every aspect of our daily work. We will continue to increase focus on our values of diversity, excellence, and integrity. We will do this through timely and provocative continuing professional development for practicing and future healthcare professionals. We will carry the torch for justice and strive for the elimination of health disparities and social determinants of health in the communities we serve. We will improve health, elevate hope and caring, advance health equity and population health efforts for ALL and will be allies to those that do the same.

The fight to end racism and bias and to foster awareness and justice must be ongoing.

Michael Ruhlen, MD
Director, Charlotte AHEC

Joann Spaleta, FACHE
Assistant Vice President, Charlotte AHEC