Clean Air Carolina has long pursued both equity and public health. This past week, the connection between these two goals was painfully demonstrated once again: Racism is a Public Health Crisis.
Something is clearly broken when, time after time, a society condones systemic racism and police violence against people of color. When more than one black person dies with the words “I can’t breathe.” That’s why we stand in solidarity with our communities and partners crying out for justice. We see you. We hear you. We mourn with you. And we will act with you.
The horrific murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor may have been a tipping point, but the outpouring of grief, anger, and determination is about so much more. It is about every black American we’ve watched suffer a violent death at the hands of those charged with protecting the public. It is about Keith Lamont Scott, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Oscar Grant, and countless others. It is also about the daily injustices and indignities that aren’t captured on camera, but which people of color live with every day, including higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Actions speak louder than words. All of us, especially white Americans, must take responsibility for examining our own lives, to listen to and support communities of color, and to actively work against racism and inequality. If you want to learn more and get involved, we encourage you to consider the excellent resources provided by the Racial Equity Institute and the American Public Health Association.