UCSF responds to watermelon images on employee board during June

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — A UCSF employee says she is disappointed and hurt by how the hospital initially responded to her concerns about discriminatory images at the facility. VIDEO: How people came to celebrate Juneteenth

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — A UCSF employee says she is disappointed and hurt by how the hospital initially responded to her concerns about discriminatory images at the facility.

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Bernadette Price says she’s been at it for more than a decade.

“UCSF has been in my family for 17 years,” she said.

Price, who works in the operating room at UCSF Parnassus, says she was disappointed when she recently saw a dry-erase board at work listing notable June days but left Juneteenth off. The painting also contained images of watermelons.

“I felt like he was trying to be erased and trying to make fun of him by having the watermelons there,” Price said.

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“Watermelon and chicken have been associated with black people, slaves, things like that,” she said. “So even for it to be there in this particular month, it just didn’t sit well with me.”

She says the person who drew the pictures was on vacation, so she went to that person’s manager, who said they would be deleted.

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

But after the June 19 holiday, Price says the painting was back, this time listing the holiday with images of cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew with the words “Just seasonal summer melon only.”

“When I saw it I stopped and just started shaking, I started shaking,” Price said. “I was hurt.”

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“The watermelon and chicken thing has always been a black thing, I don’t know who doesn’t, but when it comes to your attention and you know about it, what’s the excuse now” , continued Price.

In an emailed statement to ABC7 News, UCSF Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Sheila Antrum wrote:

“We looked into the matter and learned that the whiteboard had been erased. Staff working on the floor represent many diverse cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds, and they use the whiteboard to share celebrations and announcements each month. After Having spoken to the staff who were involved, we have determined that there was no negative intent, but we understand that one of our staff found part of the June celebration artwork triggered. We regret that the whiteboard illustration has caused concern for our valued employee.Because maintaining a working environment in which all of our employees feel comfortable is very important, staff have sought in good faith to changing 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. racism requires sensitivity and an openness to discovering new and multiple perspectives. we celebrate diversity, work to advance equity and promote inclusion. When we don’t do things right, even when guided by the best of intentions, we work quickly to address concerns with the goal of creating a welcoming environment for all of our employees. »

Price told ABC7 News, “I understand that some people may not understand where I’m coming from, but I think that’s because they never dealt with some of the issues that I had to deal with. face. Hopefully we can all learn from this. Experiment and make things better. That’s the best thing I can say.

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