(Washington, DC – May 25, 2021) – On this first anniversary of the murder of George P. Floyd, Jr. by a former Minneapolis police officer, Trust for America’s Health reaffirms its commitment to honoring Mr. Floyd’s memory, and to advocating for policies that end racism and advance justice and equity for all people, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Racism undermines equity and has far-reaching impacts on health, education, economic opportunity, employment, housing, transportation, and criminal justice.
The recent cases of racial violence against people of color and the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color have highlighted once again the importance of combating racism as a public health imperative. Racism is at the root of disinvestment in and marginalization of communities of color, leading to unhealthy social, economic, and environmental conditions, and the lack of opportunities within many communities of color.
The best and most lasting tribute to Mr. Floyd would be to correct the structural disadvantages that exist due to the enduring legacy of historic and current day racism in all forms.
Specifically, TFAH recommends the following policy actions to combat racism and advance health equity:
- Federal, state and local governments should act to eliminate racially motivated violence so that people of color do not have to fear for their health and safety as they go about their daily lives.
- Policymakers should make advancing health equity and eliminating health disparities a national priority. Such a priority requires ending systemic barriers and advancing policies and programs that create equitable opportunity for health and well-being.
- Increase federal funding for programs that will advance health equity particularly in historically underserved communities, e.g., for affordable housing including home ownership, access to quality childcare, schools, education and career development including access to jobs with better wages and full benefits, higher education, transportation, and high-quality healthcare.
- Increase funding for programs that support the whole child and family and schools and that promote long-term security, coping skills, and good health.
- Funding agencies should collaborate with historically underserved communities to best understand their needs and create space for community leaders to co-create program and policy design and implementation.
- Federal and state governments should act to protect voting rights for all persons.
We should remember and honor Mr. Floyd and countless others whose lives have been taken by racial violence – and the hundreds of thousands of people of color who have died from COVID-19. We must remain committed to making America a place where no person’s health and safety is limited by race or ethnicity, but rather valued and respected.