You’ve likely heard about the recent resignation of Dr. Ben Danielson from Seattle Children’s and the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) over ongoing racist and discriminatory practices at Seattle Children’s.
Danielson, who has earned widespread admiration and respect for advocating for and serving children of color and those living in low-income families, told Crosscut he stepped down after Seattle Children’s leaders failed to address issues such as calling security against patients of color and a lack of translation services.
“I have privilege enough that I should be somebody who says, ‘This is not okay,’” Danielson said. He also told Crosscut he began to seriously consider quitting last summer. A colleague was fired without explanation and another felt pushed into resigning from her leadership post. Both are people of color. At the same time, a member of the Seattle Children’s Hospital administration, who Danielson said had used the n-word several years earlier in reference to him and referred to people of Asian descent as “japs,” remains a front-facing member of the team.
A petition by Change.org demanding racial justice from Seattle Children’s said OBCC “exists today as a result of grassroots leadership by Black advocates and medical providers who organized to create the health care that local institutions long refused to provide.” And that Seattle Children’s “needs to be held accountable for the racism and anti-Blackness that not only Dr. Danielson, but hundreds of families and staff have experienced within this institution.”
It is disappointing that an institution such as Seattle Children’s would allow discriminatory practices of any kind. And it is unacceptable.
In a statement, Seattle Children’s said, “While some of the claims made were investigated a decade ago, we are examining the issues raised. As an organization, we are committed to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion while also holding ourselves accountable and continuing to do the work required to address systemic racism when and where it exists.”
We are saddened by Danielson’s resignation and we echo the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA)’s stance that Seattle’s Children’s statements about a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion mean little in the absence of addressing on-the-ground instances of microaggressions, discrimination, and racism like those that Danielson and WSNA-represented nurses have experienced and witnessed.
Support the Change.org petition at chng.it/7Y7JYH8VTw and hold Seattle Children’s accountable.