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An Important Message from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and LECOM Health

On May 25, 2020, a video revealed the monstrous behavior of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling for many minutes and full-weighted upon the neck of George Floyd. That officer brutally brought about Mr. Floyd’s unjust death.

The whole of the American societal and political spectrum was united in sympathy for George Floyd in recognition of the intolerable and inexcusable act of police brutality.

In responding to an egregious event such as this, we call upon words of unity, words that draw us together, indeed words that summon our better angels.

As a community of medical educators and healthcare professionals, we seek ever to protect the universal sanctity of human life. The Osteopathic Oath, to which each of us solemnly pledges, affirms the “great responsibility to preserve health and life.” Our Oath pledges, “vigilance in aiding in the general welfare of the community, in sustaining its laws and institutions, and in not engaging in those practices which will, in any way, bring shame or discredit upon oneself or profession.” It is a noble Oath, a proud ideal, and one to which all in our profession should be honored to adhere.

Just oaths, noble ideals, and a reliance upon higher principles should always guide us.

Indeed, as a nation united in the ideal of Freedom and Liberty, we must seek ever the blessings of those freedoms guaranteed by our Founding First Principles – the American Constitution – for that document establishes our Rule of Law, protecting us from any who would seek tyranny and injustice.

The senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David Dorn, and other recent tragedies, make it far too apparent that not every life is valued equally within our society. We embrace our African American communities and we understand that these injustices affect our society as a whole.

Many sage words of those who came before us bring mindfulness to us in this turbulent moment. Abraham Lincoln reminded us that, “Most governments have been based, practically, on the denial of the equal rights of men; ours began, by affirming those rights. We proposed to give all a chance; and we expected the weak to grow stronger, the ignorant, wiser; and all better, and happier together.”

Let us harken further to the wisdom of Lincoln who, shortly before he was unjustly killed, stated:

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving Grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”

Let us all regard these words. Let us take a moment to pray to the God that made us, to Providence. Let us ask for understanding, for peaceful conversation.

The encouragement of rioting as a way to advance positive social change risks increasing the frequency of violence in the streets and stoking racial resentments.

Our nation has faced many challenges. We must dedicate ourselves to remembering those who gave their lives that our nation might live. We must not stand divided against ourselves, for again citing Abraham Lincoln, “A house divided against itself, cannot stand.”

As he sought to lead our nation out of its darkest time, he said, “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

May we heed the wisdom.

As an enduring institution, the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine goes forward as one, to fulfill our mission of offering superlative medical education, of providing compassionate care and healing, and of engaging in purposeful community service. May our mission serve as a beacon to all.

John M. Ferretti, D.O.
LECOM President/CEO