May 30, 2020
This week we watched George Floyd be murdered in Minneapolis. We watched Christian Cooper’s life get threatened while bird watching in Central Park. We watched on live TV as CNN reporter Omar Jimenez was arrested while covering the protest in Minneapolis. All three of them are black men who were the targets of racist acts. What we saw are just small glimpses of the racism that occurs millions of times a day to black people out of the public’s sight. But they are visible and ever present to those who suffer its blows.
Racism is pervasive in our society and it takes a toll on the mental and physical health of blacks. Beyond the individual acts of racism are the structures of racism in our financial, housing, employment and health systems. We see the results in lower life expectancy, poorer maternal outcomes, and higher rates of death from COVID-19, a virus that came into existence 6 months ago.
Every day with every action we must work to undo centuries of actions and thought that have led us to this point.
Silence is the space in which injustice grows. We must all speak up when we see injustice, particularly when we are not the target of that injustice.
This is why the Anne Arundel County Department of Health declared racism as a public health issue late last year. We launched a COVID-19 Health Equity Initiative and are standing up an Office of Health Equity and Racial Justice. We ask all of you to join us in our mission of promoting the health of ALL in this county.
Leadership of the Anne Arundel County Department of Health
Nilesh Kalyanaraman. M.D., Health Officer