In response to the recent protests against racism and injustice that have spread around the world, we heard your requests for a stronger organizational statement on this issue.
Let us be clear: Sigma, its international board of directors, and its staff condemn the murders of Black Americans. We recognize the structural and systemic racism underlying the current issues represents a longstanding public health crisis. Black lives–of our patients, colleagues, fellow members, and humans worldwide–matter.
Some historical information might provide important context. As a global organization, Sigma refrained in the past from commenting on country specific issues. We would never know about every issue of injustice; terminology and social climate differed from country to country. We adhered to the guiding principle that Sigma remain politically neutral. And, we cited our longstanding statement on diversity and inclusion because it, like our organizational values, has remained consistent.
As the world embraced the current protests, we determined we could not stay silent. We hope this statement resonates with you. Because we believe actions speak louder than words, we further commit to the hard work of identifying and addressing barriers within our profession and society.
In the weeks to come, you will hear about Sigma’s contribution to change on this topic, including a new project to support nurse faculty from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We have more projects and plans in the works we look forward to sharing with you as they become available.
Beyond any organizational statement or action, Sigma members are our best ambassadors and advocates for change at the local, state, national, and global level. We encourage our members and chapters to advance your knowledge to become allies to our Black members, become civically involved in your communities, volunteer as nurse mentors to young Black people, and support Black-owned businesses and nonprofits seeking racial equality and social justice, among many other actions.
As Sigma members, we encourage you to advocate for positive change within the society: Nominate Black and diverse researchers for the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. Nominate Black and diverse nurses for international awards. Learn about and consider serving as a chapter leader, committee chair, or regional coordinator; perhaps stand for a position on the international board of directors. Sigma needs your wisdom and perspective in organizational leadership at every level.
In closing, we reflect that our founders based the society on values they felt were critical to nursing:
Love, courage, and honor.
We wholeheartedly affirm our love for our fellow humans. We acknowledge the courage it takes to fight the systemic racism that affects our world, our profession, and our organization. We strive to do what is honorable to address these issues. We urge you as Sigma members to do the same.
| Ric Ricciardi
| Liz Madigan