To our valued Patients,
My name is Vanessa Bogaert, and I am the co-owner of Gorin Plastic Surgery & Medspa. The tragic murder of George Floyd has prompted conversations with my husband, Dr. Aaron Gorin (Medical Director) and members of our team, about how our company should respond.
We do not want to simply make statements to check the box and consider our work done. The issue of racism and its pervasive presence in our society has always affected me deeply as it has been a personal experience of mine. Growing up one of the few Latina children in my school, I received countless slurs and attacks from racist classmates and even sometimes their parents. My parents often had to fight to make sure my siblings and I received the same educational resources as white students did. I grew up very aware that being different came with the struggle for acceptance and fair treatment. As I began attending bigger, more diverse schools, I made many friends from a myriad of different backgrounds, and began to see as the world became larger, in some ways it became safer and more accepting. But I also understood that the struggle for equity in our system would take ongoing work. In my personal life, I have committed to fighting systemic racism by donating regularly to the ACLU and the SPLC. I have used my personal social media accounts to speak out about injustices, and yes, have even lost patients and friends who do not agree with my positions. But as I witnessed the violent death of not only George Floyd, but Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, it has become apparent to me that I must utilize our company to push this work further along to our collective goal of a more just and equal society.
The last few days we have seen great tragedy, sorrow and anger. We have had friends of ours have their businesses attacked in the looting incidents that have hit the city. We have seen our friends and family members in the police force express frustration of their profession yet again being undermined by corrupt agencies and bad actors that act with impunity. But most importantly we have seen the anguish of black mothers, daughters, fathers and sons who have lost their loved ones to violence, and that effect on the broader black community. While the structures of our community can be rebuilt, the lives of these loved ones lost can never be replaced.
So knowing this, where do we go as a member of our community? It is not enough to make simple statements expressing our recommitment to conducting our business without preference or discrimination to any race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. We must do what we can to push the conversation forward on challenging systemic racism and prejudices in our community. With that in mind, I wish to express our first thoughts on the actions we as a company can take to help our community move closer to the above goals. This is by no means a definitive list, and as we learn and grow more, we hope to expand our goals and targets:
- We will work towards further diversifying our marketing campaigns and expanding our reach to communities of color.
- For new hire positions, we will work to ensure we actively recruit with diversity as a goal.
- We are making an initial donation of $5000 to the Urban League of Portland which has worked since 1945 to safeguard the civil rights and empower the black community to achieve equality in education, employment, health and economic security.
- Require and provide our staff with continuing education opportunities on how to best serve our patients of color, especially in regard to medical treatments and services.
- Empower our staff to speak out if they witness racial mistreatment of any kind in our office, either from staff or patients.
We encourage you, our valued patients, to reach out with any questions, concerns, or suggestions on how we can do better to reach our commitment to fighting racism. We are not by any means experts in this fight, and we will continue to learn, listen and follow those who have studied and researched solutions to the issue of racism. Lastly, if you feel moved to act, to speak out, to donate, we hope that you take those first steps towards getting involved. We are including at the bottom of our statement some resources you may find helpful. I truly believe as Dr. Martin Luther King said “that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” but it cannot move that way without our collective efforts.
With great sadness, hope and love,
~ Vanessa Bogaert, Dr. Aaron Gorin and the team at Gorin Plastic Surgery & MedSpa
1. Donate to one or more of these:
Black Lives Matter: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019
Urban League of Portland: https://ulpdx.org/
2. Read these:
The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/
The 1619 project (also an amazing podcast series): https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/1619-america-slavery.html
The New Jim Crow (Book) by Michelle Alexander: https://www.amazon.com/New-Jim-Crow-Incarceration-Colorblindness/dp/1595586431
3. Pick a few of these to commit to doing together or alone, acting locally is a really good way to approach massive problems:
75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice: https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234
4. If you use Instagram, follow some accounts that provide really good content about how to be more aware and take action on these issues. Just a few of my favorites are:
- @Laura.edmondson (has a story highlight with many more great accounts to follow!)
5. If you use twitter, here are some other accounts you can check out: