America is in denial about its “war” on racism. Only one side is truly engaged – the white supremacists. They are organized and committed to winning at all costs. If those of us who want to end racism are serious, we have an imperative to organize, fight, and not stop until we are victorious. We need the commitment of a warrior and the heart of a nonviolent revolutionary.
Racial Equity & Justice
Racial Equity & Justice — what we offer to readers on this topic... — what we offer to readers on this topic...
See our Resource Pages for additional information on each topic.
Monumental stands on social justice have followed social upheaval. The end of World War II led to the adoption of two policy documents that make our current gaps and inequities in health care appalling. In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and, more specific to health, the World Health Organization (WHO) Constitution (adopted in 1946) declared health and access to healthcare a fundamental human right. In 2013, the World Health Organization went further by broadening attention to the heath care rights of specific groups based on mental, gender and sexual health which led to a focus on determinants of health, including social (WHO, 2013).
The practice of racism and white supremacy in the United States, from conception, has always been structural and institutional. The majority of U.S. history has been one of policies and legislation codifying the advancement of those classified as white and legally denying opportunities for those groups that were not.
In 2020, many white faith-based, as well as white secular, communities discovered – with the death of George Floyd — that racism still existed and operated with severity and impunity.
This week I am continuing to explore concrete recommendations from author Eric Deggans about daily actions that advance our commitment to be anti-racist. In his article Not Racist is not Enough: Putting in the Work to be Anti-Racist, the first tip is about “accepting that we’ve all been raised in a society that elevates white culture over others.” In last week’s post, I looked at how we each might conduct a racial justice self-examination to advance our awareness and motivate personal change.
In last week’s post, I invited readers to share what they have learned about working for racial justice in the nearly two years since George Floyd was murdered. I shared some resources which I have found helpful, including an NPR podcast/article by Eric Deggans. In his article, “Not Racist is not Enough: Putting in the Work to be Anti-Racist,” Deggans is very concrete. He offers four practical tips below that I’ll explore in this and future posts:
We will soon reach the 2nd anniversary of the heinous murder of George Floyd. This murder was so ugly and wrong that even white folks noticed – at least some of us did. Somehow, we had been able to overlook countless atrocious murders of Black and Brown and Native peoples for years, even generations. In last week’s post, Tim Leadem reminded us about the atrocious deaths at the Canadian Training Schools, operated by the Catholic Church.
In May 2021, the remains of 215 children were discovered on the grounds of a former residential school near Kamloops, British Columbia. The gruesome discovery shocked many Canadians and confirmed what many indigenous leaders and people had been telling Canadians for decades-namely, that residential schools, many of which were operated by Christian denominations were and remain a tragedy of misplaced policies that sought to bring indigenous communities within the mainstream of Canadian life. Instead, residential schools removed children from their homes and parents and became a mechanism for discouraging the culture and language of indigenous communities. The Truth and Reconciliation Committee of Canada labeled the whole history of residential schools a form of cultural genocide. The treatment of indigenous people in subjecting them to the trauma of residential schools that started in 1879 and lasted until the mid 1990s is a deep stain upon the Canadian psyche.
Last week I wrote about Lois Wilson as an example of an amazing little-known woman leader. I hadn’t planned to have more to say about women leaders in the month celebrating women in history and our daily lives. Then, a friend of mine, Lois Rosado, wrote an article for our local Greenbelt News Review (March 17, 2022) entitled Names Not Frequently Mentioned as part of the paper’s series on Women History. Lois moved to Greenbelt from New York where she had the opportunity to be involved with Bayard Rustin and other civil rights leaders and serves as a leader of numerous efforts both to educate about racial disparities and to work for change.
I needed to be part of a community to fully come to love and accept myself as a person with a physical disability. However, acceptance was not enough. Much change was and is needed to make it possible for all people to participate equitably in a free and open society.