A Hazardous Moment for Black Health

Articles | June 15 2020

By Joseph P. Williams

A middle-aged black man, his cheek to the pavement on a Minneapolis street, gasping for air and begging for mercy from a white police officer kneeling on his neck. Another black man out for a jog, chased down and shot by an ad hoc posse of white men in a small Georgia community. An angry white woman in New York City, jabbing her finger at a black bird-watcher who’d asked her to leash her dog, threatening to tell police that “there’s an African American man threatening my life.”

Also in New York City, a refrigerated freight trailer parked beside a hospital, transformed into a makeshift, overflow morgue for patients killed by COVID-19 – a disproportionate number of whom have been African American.

The confluence of events – videos capturing the final moments of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, Georgia, as well as footage of Christian Cooper’s “bird-watching while black” incident and data showing how the coronavirus is ravaging black communities – have placed the existence of sometimes invisible, often discounted structural racism in America into sharp relief (Read more).