Statement on Racial Equity and Injustice
Racism is a public health crisis; many health professionals and elected officials agree that there is nothing more detrimental to health than a system of oppression. Acclaimed writer and activist Maya Angelou wrote, “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.” As public health professionals, we recognize that racism in our country is a dire threat. Long-term, permanent change will continue to evade us until we understand collectively that when we mistreat, oppress, and kill others we are tearing the universal fabric that strengthens each of us and, in turn, our whole society.
This country has a legacy of “othering” and because of this, racism is inextricably intertwined in all facets of our lives, including our healthcare systems, environment, education, and Wall Street. It is undeniable that Black and Indigenous people have borne the brunt of this oppression, yet it is detrimental to all.
Racism will not be quickly stamped out. While we are beginning to see accountability for murder and abuse, individual guilty verdicts—despite how important—don’t in themselves lead to institutional change. We continue to see Black people lose their lives to systemic racism, often at the hands of people who are supposed to protect them. Change requires a commitment from each of us to take action every day. Since we are all products of a culture that privileges whiteness and is built around anti-Blackness, “not being racist” isn’t enough; we must be actively anti-racist.
Our vision at the CAPTC is to realize an environment where health equity exists for all. This requires reflection and adjustment that doesn’t end with the news cycle. We pledge to continue our commitment to dismantling institutional racism by examining and reflecting on our own prejudices. We also pledge to continue to tackle important issues like homophobia and implicit bias through our capacity-building trainings and technical assistance. Through this, and through collaboration with like-minded organizations, we can move the needle in healthcare toward greater inclusivity, and thus, generate healthier, more equitable communities.
As a member of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health in UCSF’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, we are committed to this ongoing work, and we ask you to join us.
In health and solidarity,
Dana Cropper & the PTC staff