APLA Health stands in solidarity with people across the country and the world protesting the horrific racial violence that has brought our nation to a point of civic crisis unparalleled since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.
The events that precipitated this crisis are well known: the callous murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the shooting of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police as she slept in her bed, the violent murder of Ahmaud Arbery by white supremacists while he was jogging in Georgia, and the police killing of Tony McDade, a black trans man in Tallahassee.
These are just the latest instances of the unending violence and officially sanctioned terror visited on black people – and other racial and ethnic minorities – in this country since its founding.
Two years before he was assassinated Dr. King famously said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane.” After centuries of institutional racism, health outcomes among African Americans are exactly that: shocking, inhumane and dramatically worse than among whites.
APLA Health knows something about injustice in health: nearly 100,000 individuals died of AIDS in the 1980s – many of them black gay men and transgender women – before the federal government took notice. African Americans continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV – blacks make up about 12 percent of the U.S. population, but account for nearly half the number of people living with or diagnosed with HIV each year.
The current COVID-19 epidemic again reveals the health injustice of discrimination and institutional racism. Black people have died from the disease at almost three times the rate of their white counterparts.
This week APLA Health joined over 500 LGBTQ organizations to make explicit commitments to embrace anti-racism and end white supremacy, not as necessary corollaries to our mission, but as central to it: central to ending HIV, central to ending COVID-19, central to achieving health equity for LGBTQ people, and central to ending the persistent injustice that communities of color experience across the country.
APLA Health stands in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter, and that stand requires action to bring about change. We call on elected officials to listen to those marching in the streets and to implement policies that amend the past, eradicate institutional racism, and ensure that police brutality and racial violence are brought to a conclusive end.
APLA Health recognizes that the moment for action is now. Our efforts to reduce health disparities across all the communities we serve are on-going, as are our efforts to help create a country and a world where injustice – including injustice in health – no longer separates us one from another.