George Floyd. Say his name.
As you say these aloud, remember that these names represent real people, young people who should still be walking among us, enjoying family, friends, warm summer days, and private lives with names unknown to the greater world. And there are too many other people who preceded them, killed at the hands of police.
Now add the people who have died from COVID-19. Their names are unknown to most of us. They were bus drivers, nursing home workers, food service workers, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, on the frontlines of a pandemic with jobs that could not be done at home. And they, too, left grieving families.
What do these black Americans who died at the hands of police and who died from a virus have in common?
As Americans, we pride ourselves on “liberty and justice for all.” Yet historically we have failed communities of color.
Black men have a 1 in 1000 risk of being killed by police, about 2.5 times the risk of whites. African-Americans have a higher risk of dying of COVID-19. In NC, African-Americans, who are 22% of the population, have suffered 34% of deaths. Both of these painful discrepancies result from structural racism, racism that is not just name-calling but is embedded into our policies, procedures, and ways of interacting. With regard to death by virus, black Americans are more likely to have underlying medical conditions, more likely to have jobs that put them face-to-face with the public, more likely to be poor, more likely to lack health care and, in an intersection with our justice system, more likely to be incarcerated, all of which lead to higher risk.
Heath Care Justice—NC is committed to justice in our healthcare system.Just as our parent organization Physicians for a National Health Program, condemns police violence and racism, we stand together with those committed to turn our injustice system into a true justice system.
Let’s relegate our failure of liberty and justice to history. Let’s resolve to move forward to right that failure so that we indeed live up to the promise of liberty and justice for all.
Some of us have marched (with masks, of course), we are posting our support on social media, we are donating, we are taking action to show support, and we encourage you to do the same.
Anguish and Action/the Obama Foundation with links to petitions, ways to educate ourselves about the issues and multiple organizations at the frontlines of social justice
Black Lives Matter Education, petitions, resources
Poor People’s Campaign Read Rev. Barber’s pastoral letter and learn about their work
New Yorker interview with Robin DiAngelo: A Sociologist Examines the “White Fragility” That Prevents White Americans from Confronting Racism
TED Talk with Kimberlé Crenshaw: The Urgency of Intersectionality
Trevor Noah discusses Domino Theory around George Floyd, Amy Cooper, and why people riot and loot.
Take a look at the variety of campaigns run by Color of Change, the country's largest online racial justice organization.