The Role Of Racial Justice In Building A Culture Of Health

Articles | September 21 2020

By Alonzo Plough, Gail C. Christopher

The social upheaval we’ve seen as thousands of protesters fill our streets is indicative of American culture being challenged. States are passing new laws, cities are considering calls to defund the police, Confederate statues are being removed, and holidays like Juneteenth are being more formally recognized. From the symbolic to the substantive, culture is where lasting change begins, and where it is sustained.

We are collectively experiencing the combined burden of the disproportionate health and economic impact of COVID-19 on Black and brown populations as well as systemic racism resulting in unarmed people of color being targeted, brutalized, and killed by citizens and law enforcement at alarming rates. Our nation seems to be waking up to a fact we’ve long known: A culture of racial injustice and a culture of health cannot co-exist. Culture reflects and embodies the most deeply held values and beliefs of those in power. The most persistent, yet tacit and denied, belief in US culture is the permission to value some people more than others. This belief has led to systemic disinvestments in communities of color, which have increased vulnerability to COVID-19 and allowed police to continue to unjustly kill Black and brown people (Read full article).