June 30, 2022

UCSF responds to images of watermelon on employee board during Juneteenth month

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — A UCSF employee says she’s dissatisfied and damage by the best way the hospital initially responded to her issues about discriminatory images on the hospital.

Bernadette Value says she’s labored at UCSF for greater than a decade.

“UCSF has been a part of my family for 17 years,” mentioned Value.

Value who works within the working room at UCSF Parnassus says she was dissatisfied when she lately noticed a dry erase board at work itemizing notable June days however leaving off Juneteenth. The board additionally had photos of watermelons in it.

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“I felt like it was trying to be erased and it was trying to be mocked by having the watermelons there,” mentioned Value.

“Watermelon and chicken has been associated with Black people, slaves, things like that, so even for that to be there during that particular month it just didn’t sit well with me,” mentioned Value.

She says the one that drew the images was on trip so she went to that particular person’s supervisor who mentioned it could be eliminated.

“Even if you weren’t aware of the damage or how hurtful that was when we brought it to your attention by you removing it, I respected that,” mentioned Value.

However after the Juneteenth vacation, Value says the board was again up, this time itemizing the vacation with images of cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew together with the phrases, “Just seasonal summertime melon only.”

“When I saw it I stopped and I just started trembling I started shaking,” mentioned Value.

“I was hurt,” mentioned Value.

“The watermelon and chicken thing has been a thing for Black people forever, I don’t know who doesn’t know that but when it’s brought to your attention and you’re educated on it what’s the excuse now,” Value continued.

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In an emailed assertion to ABC7 Information, UCSF’s Senior Vice President and Chief Working Officer Sheila Antrum writes:

“We looked into the matter and learned that the whiteboard has been erased. The staff who work on the floor represent many diverse cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds, and they use the whiteboard to share celebrations and announcements every month. After speaking to staff who were involved, we determined there was no negative intention, but we do understand that one of our employees found part of the celebratory illustration for the month of June triggering. We regret that the whiteboard illustration created concern for our valued employee. Because maintaining a work environment in which all of our employees feel comfortable is very important, staff in good faith sought to change the whiteboard. After learning that the changes did not address the employee’s concern, our local manager made the decision to have the whiteboard erased. Advancing the dialogue on race and racism requires sensitivity and an openness to discovering new and multiple perspectives. As a learning organization, we celebrate diversity, work to advance equity, and promote inclusion. When we don’t get it quite right, even when guided by the best intentions, we work quickly to address concerns with the goal of creating a welcoming environment for all of our employees.”

“I understand some people may not get where I’m coming from but I think it’s because they’ve never dealt with some of the issues I’ve had to deal with,” mentioned Value.

“I hope we can all learn from this experience and make things better. That’s the best thing I can say,” she continued.

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