As a nonprofit organization that was born out of the Gillings School of Public Health at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, our team has strong Tar Heel roots. Our co-founders Drs. Allison Myers and Kurt Ribisl brought their vision for supporting tobacco point of sale policy change to life while teaching and studying at UNC Gillings.

Counter Tools has benefited from many privileges afforded to us thanks to our affiliation with UNC-Chapel Hill. We respect and appreciate the faculty, staff, and students who have contributed to our success in advancing place-based public health. We are also deeply disappointed in the UNC board of trustees’ mistreatment of Nikole Hannah-Jones.

We join the many voices that have already spoken out against racist behavior and the institutional racism embedded at UNC-Chapel Hill, including UNC-Chapel Hill Black student leaders that have presented priority action items for university leadership to undertake “to protect the Black community at UNC, as well as to end the systemic oppression and exploitation of our community.” We stand with the Gillings School of Public Health and the many other leaders within UNC that have spoken out against these actions and have demanded action. We encourage UNC-Chapel Hill to take action on the recommendations presented to them, such as the actions suggested by Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Like UNC-Chapel Hill, our Counter Tools team has also experienced moments where we have fallen short of our expectations around dismantling racism and white privilege. We hope UNC-Chapel Hill will learn from this experience and address their actions. We continue to do the same as we strive to operate by our stance on equity, diversity and inclusion.