The senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubery, and countless others illuminate long-standing issues of racism, racial inequality, and discrimination in this country. We are angry, heartbroken, and devastated about the recent acts of institutional violence and the ever-present threat on the lives of African Americans engaging in everyday activities. We stand with all who have experienced physical and emotional trauma at the hands of institutional injustice based on the color of their skin and seek urgent change to discriminatory practices and policies.
As a society, we must acknowledge that since its founding, our country has been building and maintaining systems of inequality that prevent African American and minority communities from experiencing the same protections and resources as White Americans. These systemic inequalities are visible in interactions with law enforcement, in our school systems, in the availability of housing, in healthcare, the list goes on and on.
For 35 years, Unity Health Care has fought to counter these inequalities by providing accessible, high quality, compassionate health and human services and creating a space of dignity and respect for people to exercise their fundamental human right to healthcare, regardless of ability to pay. In our daily work, we see the profoundly harmful effects of racism and social injustice in the lives of our patients and their emotional and physical wellbeing. From infant mortality to all-cause mortality, chronic diseases to life or death situations, and access to substance abuse treatment, race matters. These effects have been amplified by the current pandemic that is impacting DC’s African American residents at higher rates than any other ethnic group.
We need change now, and we stand with communities of color in working to enact that change. We implore the greater DC community to acknowledge the pain caused by centuries of systemic oppression and its tangible impact on the African American community. We are ready to listen to the needs and experiences of those hurting. We demand accountability from ourselves and those making policies and decisions, and we will fight side-by-side to dismantle inequality wherever it exists. The time has come for all of us to raise our voices and reaffirm our commitment to serving our community and finding new ways to meet the needs of our patients to ensure they have access to the care they deserve. Through this work we hope to build a better, healthier, more equitable society.