The past few weeks have been relentlessly horrifying. On May 25, George Floyd was held to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer while he gasped, “I can’t breathe,” eerily harkening back to Eric Garner’s same words nearly six years ago when he was murdered in a chokehold applied by a NYPD officer.
Mr. Floyd joins a litany of black people who have been the victims of systemic violence and death because of racist systems and communities. Steven Taylor. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Ahmaud Arbery. Philando Castile. Alton Sterling. Sandra Bland. Walter Scott. Tanisha Anderson. Tamir Rice. Mike Brown. Renisha McBride. Trayvon Martin. Oscar Grant. Heartbreakingly, the recitation could go on, documenting centuries of anti-black violence.
I want to acknowledge the pain, anxiety, and stress that black, brown, and other communities of color are feeling. I also want to recognize that many are experiencing compounding trauma. Because of the work we do, we are acutely aware of the inequities in health care access, treatment, and outcomes for black, indigenous, and people of color.
Dismantling structural racism requires systemic transformation of institutions: policing and justice systems, education, employment, housing, media, economic mobility, health care, and more. But racism isn’t just “out there” in these systems, it is taught and reinforced. And we must make deliberate, personal commitments to listen to black voices, to commit to dismantling white supremacy, doing long-term work to educate and hold each other accountable, and to have uncomfortable conversations that move us closer to more authentic and deep partnerships to fight for racial justice.
It is time for reproductive rights and health advocates like us to take a stand and work to dismantle systems of white supremacy and anti-blackness. We need to speak out for every individual’s right to live privately with bodily autonomy, free from violence and systemic injustices.
To our black patients, colleagues, supporters, donors, and friends: please remember that even though we are social distancing, you are not alone. You matter. Your personhood, bodily autonomy, and wellness matters. Go to ppmarmonte.org/anti-racism where you’ll find a link to 7 virtual mental health resources supporting black people right now.
At ppmarmonte.org/anti-racism I’ve also shared a list of antiracism resources that I’ve found very helpful. It includes a curated collection of articles to help educate yourself and help make a difference in this fight. For individuals with children at home, you’ll find some tools to help talk to children about race and racism. And, if you’d like to take action, please follow and support the Movement for Black Lives at m4bl.org to learn more about what you can do right now.
With a heavy heart and the resolve to keep fighting,
- Stacy Cross in Partnership with the PPMM Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
- The Obama Foundation: A comprehensive list of resources to get informed, take action, get engaged, and stand together is at obama.org/anguish-and-action
- If you’re white and want to fight for racial justice, check out the information in our Resources for White People list at ppmarmonte.org/anti-racism
- Watch 13th (Netflix, 2016), an incredible documentary by Ava Duvernay that explores the intersection of race, justice, and mass-incarceration in the U.S.
- Read two New York Times bestsellers: How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, and So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo.