Posted Friday, February 18, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

Our commitment to the Principles of Community runs deep throughout our schools, clinics, medical center, health system and university.

The Principles of Community define who we want to be, and the impact we want to have on our beloved community and our world. Established in 1990, this document serves as an aspirational statement affirming our commitment to the highest standards of civility and decency towards all.

Likewise, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often spoke about the beloved community in which racism and other forms of discrimination give way to respect and inclusion and “where poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it.”

Dr. King maintained that such a community is created through nonviolent transformation. This year’s theme centers on Martin Luther King Jr.’s “six principles of nonviolence.” Inspired by the work of Mahatma Gandhi, the development of these principles is a powerful example of diverse leaders connecting across boundaries.

Here is a brief summary:

  • Principle one – nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
  • Principle two – nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
  • Principle three – nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, or evil, not people.
  • Principle four – nonviolence holds that unearned, voluntary suffering for a just cause can educate and transform people and societies.
  • Principle five –nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.
  • Principle six – nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.

To learn more about these principles and the steps for nonviolent social change, please visit the King Center at The King Philosophy - Nonviolence365® - The King Center.

Within this context, and through our Principles, we reject violence in all forms. We also strive to confront and reject all manifestations of discrimination, and we support policies that operationalize the tenets of the Principles in all that we do here in our workplaces on both of our campuses.

Next Tuesday, please join us live as we kick off our annual Principles of Community observance at 11:30 a.m. with remarks by Chancellor Gary May, Vice David Lubarsky, CEO of UC Davis Health and Vice Chancellor for Human Health Sciences, and Renetta Tull, Vice Chancellor Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and myself. Download the flier to register. This year, the Principles of Community celebration will include virtual events throughout the week of Feb. 22 and extend into the month of March.

In the hallways of UC Davis Health, we’re developing and retaining diverse employees through education, training, events, community-building, and so many other intentional efforts to enhance the employee experience as well as in our community.

Reflecting this, the Principles are both a guide and a commitment to the larger world as well. For example, our Anchor Institution mission is addressing health inequities in the Oak Park and South Sacramento neighborhoods, and we’re working with local organizations and government to increase our sourcing and contracting with local and minority-owned businesses and widen the pathway to university jobs. This will help residents cultivate better lives and prosperity in local neighborhoods.

On both the Sacramento and Davis campuses, the Principles remind us to listen deeply to each other and to embrace different perspectives, backgrounds, cultures, identities and more in all our missions of patient care, teaching, research and public service. Every individual has the right to fully participate in university life. Every person is valued equally. And one’s ability to question, disagree and to think new thoughts is at the core of everything we do at a university.

Given who we are and what we do, the Principles of Community are an innate part of us. They make UC Davis Health better, and they make us better at caring for each of our patients, our colleagues, students, community members, and everyone who needs our help.

Finally, when we enhance these Principles through a mindful realization of what Dr. King expressed so beautifully in his six principles of non-violence, then we are one step closer to creating that more just, equitable and beloved community that we all deserve. Thank you for your support!

Yours in health,

Hendry Ton, M.D., M.S.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
UC Davis Health