Letter from the Editors
When COVID-19 began to spread across the globe, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center emerged as a key source of information for the public, solidifying the University’s position as a leader in public health. However, beneath this image, Hopkins is also an institution that has historically mistreated the communities of color that surround it.
Most of us are familiar with the ways in which the University has failed Black Baltimoreans. In 1951, Hopkins Hospital took samples of Henrietta Lacks’ cells without her consent, paving the way for later advances in medicine, yet at the cost of exploiting a Black patient. In 1993, the Kennedy Krieger Institute conducted a controversial study on the health effects of lead paint on predominantly Black children. And in 2018, the University announced plans to establish a private police force that many believe would disproportionately target Black people, further cementing the divide between Hopkins and the rest of Baltimore.
As an activist told The News-Letter in August, “the police… does not exist in isolation.” It is instead one facet of the University’s often fraught relationship with a city that has come to — and, in many ways, been forced to — depend on it for healthcare and employment. Even before Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the nation last summer, we knew that we wanted to explore this topic when we were selected for the Poynter Institute’s 2020 College Media Project last May.
This year, we were one of 10 student media organizations to receive funding for a reporting project to advance civil discourse on our campus. This virtual magazine is the culmination of our efforts. We thank Barbara Allen, Poynter’s director of college programming, for her advice and support.
Exploring the University’s role within the city is complicated, and there are a multitude of other aspects to examine and voices to incorporate. We are confident that future News-Letter editors will continue to report on both the good that Hopkins has done for Baltimore as well as how it has hurt its residents for profit.
Examining Hopkins Hospital’s Relationship with Baltimore is a starting point. We hope that you learn something from this magazine and that it inspires you to think more critically about your role as a student in Baltimore. And hopefully, in years to come, we can all look back at Examining Hopkins Hospital’s Relationship with Baltimore and see what has changed.
Rudy Malcom & Katy Wilner