After centuries of the obvious staring us right in the eyes, a federal official finally calls racism what it truly is: a serious public health threat.
In a statement last week, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pointed directly to the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on communities of color that she said, “illuminated inequities that have existed for generations and revealed for all of America a known, but often unaddressed, epidemic impacting public health: racism.” [image:35023]
The CDC will develop interventions and measureable health outcomes over the next year, according to NPR, making this a priority for the agency. Additionally, the CDC launched Racism and Health, designed for public and scientific information and discourse.
“The declaration of racism as a public health threat comes as no surprise to millions who face everyday racism and white supremacy in our society,” said Sharon Elise, CFA Associate Vice President, Racial and Social Justice, South. “Yet the declaration is significant, paralleling the recognition of racism as systemic, a recognition brought to the fore by Black Lives Matter activists and reflected in CFA centering anti-racism and social justice in all of our work.
“Certainly, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the epidemic of police brutality and vigilante violence have made clear that racism places our very lives in jeopardy, killing us now or killing us slowly, impacting every aspect of our lives,” Elise added.