The current generation of students at campuses across the country, like UNC-Chapel Hill, are simultaneously battling the pandemics of racism and COVID-19, while attending classes. We want to provide these students with the tools they need to combat these two major public health issues of our time. Our multifaceted plan focuses on improving race relations and emphasizing mental/social health awareness by encouraging an inclusive digital dialogue. Our plan specifically has three major goals. First, we want UNC-Chapel Hill to declare racism as a public health crisis. In doing so, we also would like to feature UNC medical and public health faculty/staff/students from underrepresented backgrounds, while acknowledging the reality that COVID-19 disproportionately affects Black, Hispanic and Native American community members. We also would like to encourage researchers at UNC-CH to conduct studies centering around health disparities most affecting our diverse local Carolina community. Second, we want to encourage regularly-scheduled student activism virtual panel discussions through student organizations and professors. The panel discussions will range from topics like implicit bias to climate change. We would like to create “Tar Heel Task Forces,” in which students can form committees based around issues of interest and provide researched solutions to the student government. Finally, we want to remind students that they are not alone and provide the support that they need during this time. We will work with various on-campus mental health organizations to provide virtual sessions that students can attend. We will also encourage UNC and student organizations to host digital meet-ups, in lieu of UNC traditions that are affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Through our plan, we strive to balance socialization with safety. We hope the UNC community will build off the momentum by providing a diverse and unified platform where every Tar Heel can own their unique identity.
Karishma Desai, MS – UNC Chapel Hill alumni. Grant Hiura, MPH – UNC Tar Heel Fan. Obed Ohia, MPH – UNC Charlotte alumni. Meghana Shamsunder, MPH – UNC Chapel Hill and Gillings School of Global Public Health alumni
Interested in receiving assistance from:
Students Faculty Staff
Meghana Shamsunder (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Karishma Desai: @kdesainews (Instagram), https://www.facebook.com/kbdesai311 (Facebook); Grant Hiura: @GrantHiura (Twitter), @grataka23 (Instagram); Meghana Shamsunder: @m_shamsunder (Instagram)