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From the Chair’s [Standing] Desk: We Hope That This Time Will Be Different (June 2020)

June 11, 2020
by Gary Désir

We Hope That This Time Will Be Different

In the midst of a deadly pandemic, we are witnessing the extraordinary power of a grassroots movement advocating for fundamental changes in the fabric of our society. The Black Lives Matter movement is for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and against systemic racism. Mr. George Floyd’s killing by the police on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota was not an unusual occurrence in our country. With new every incident, we grieved, we rationalized, and we moved on. But this time appears to be different. Widespread and sustained unrest has taken the country by surprise and catalyzed long overdue honest conversations. I do hope this time is different because for many of us, moving on is not an option.

My wife, Deborah Dyett Desir, and I met as first-year medical students at Yale School of Medicine, and we were married three years later. We stayed at Yale for residency and fellowship training. I subsequently joined the nephology faculty at Yale. For many years, Deborah practiced rheumatology in the community, and she recently joined the Yale faculty. We are the proud parents of four children. One is an advertising executive, one a physician another a public defender attorney, and the youngest a medical student. They are all grown up now. But then and now, because of the color of their skin, not a day passes that we do not worry about their safety. Deborah recently wrote, as only a mother could, that “I wish I could surround them in a blanket of love and keep them safe forever. My heart breaks that some of my fellow Americans look at them and do not see what I see. I live in fear that what is perceived places them in danger. My heart breaks for all the mothers who know the fear that I know.”

We do hope that this time will be different.

Submitted by Julie Parry on June 11, 2020