PAEA Statement on the Charlottesville Hate Group Rallies

The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) condemns the statements and actions of the neo-Nazi and other white supremacist groups that marched through Charlottesville, Virginia, last week.

The words, appearance, and actions of those groups were designed to evoke the threat of brutal regimes and to strike fear in the hearts of minority groups. We speak out in support of our fellow citizens who were threatened in this way and against the hateful mindset that motivates a small but loud minority of citizens who seek to exclude particular groups from our society.

“It’s insufficient for us to be passively non-racist and non-sexist — we have a commitment to be anti-racist and anti-sexist,” said CEO Timi Agar Barwick. “We unreservedly oppose and unequivocally condemn these nightmarish and regressive groups and their actions. Our members are united by a vision of a diverse and inclusive nation, and we will not stay silent when that vision is threatened.”

In the health professions, diversity and inclusion is a matter of life and death – far too many people suffer needlessly as a result of health care disparities due to their race, gender, sexual orientation, and other personal attributes. Racial, ethnic, and other forms of bigotry on display in Charlottesville seek to cause serious harm, not just to human rights and moral standards, but also to the health of millions of people.

“While speaking up in opposition is not sufficient, it is necessary,” said President William Kohlhepp. “PAEA, our member programs, and all organizations chartered for the public good have a responsibility to make clear that we stand united in our commitment to an enlightened, diverse, and inclusive society and against the forces of darkness and division.”