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Healthcare Ready’s Reflections on National Unrest Amid COVID-19

"It's not a matter of choice for us, as emergency managers, to examine and address racism through our work—it's a requirement of public service."

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In light of the nationwide protests spurred by the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, we, at Healthcare Ready, feel it is important to address this issue head on.

We operate in both public health and emergency management. One thing that is abundantly clear in our work is that systemic racism is a threat to public health and national security. It is, without question, a public health issue and a man-made disaster.

As an organization founded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a natural disaster that infamously devastated black communities in New Orleans, we are acutely familiar with the linkages that exist between crises and inequity.

We’ve seen them manifest not just during natural disasters, but all hazards. These linkages are the result of systemic inequalities that have persisted for decades. 

We understand that disasters disproportionately cripple disinvested communities, well into the months and years it takes to recover. Supporting these communities, especially communities of color, has become a cornerstone of our work.

In our response to COVID-19, we have seen how black & brown communities are contracting & dying from COVID-19 at higher rates across the US. We understand that these health outcomes, & other outcomes, are directly associated with centuries of oppression of communities of color.

It's not a matter of choice for us, as emergency managers, to examine and address racism through our work - it's a requirement of public service. 

We are proud to support communities across the nation as we seek a more resilient and equitable world. We commit to keeping equity at the core of everything that we do.

 

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