Racism is not only a public health crisis, but moreover a crime against the right to health
Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC) strongly condemns racism and police brutality, and commits to support US and global actions to dismantle the structures they rely upon. MEDICC has been working for more than 20 years to enhance cooperation among the US, Cuban and global health communities aimed at better health outcomes and equity. One of the major barriers to “health for all” around the world is racism in all its many forms.
Racism is not only a public health crisis, but moreover a crime against the right to health. It is also a crime against economic, social, educational and employment justice and the right to safe communities where people can live in dignity. It is a local, national and global crisis brought dramatically to the forefront of our consciousness by the COVID-19 pandemic and the violent death and injury of so many people of color through police brutality in the United States, most recently the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. It is past time to honestly address the acute vulnerability African Americans and other people of color are subjected to in our country, the stress of living a life on guard all the time, and the necessity to teach children to do the same.
The anger, grief, frustration and pain that has led so many to the streets to demonstrate for change and risk their own health during a pandemic is both palpable and understandable. MEDICC joins those calling for systemic racism to be recognized and dismantled; for hatred to be addressed and replaced by respect and understanding; and for equal protection under the law. We stand with those protesting in our country and around the world and join them in demanding more just, antiracist and equitable societies and leaders worldwide.
In line with this, we will push to expand attention to the science examining health disparities and social inequities, while increasing self-awareness of personal blind spots and institutional structures that contribute to racial injustice and white privilege, and then act to change them.
Our organization--comprising African American, Native American, Latino, Asian American and white health and related professionals committed to social justice—commits to finding and supporting more effective ways to reduce the dangerous impact of racism on the health of African Americans and other people of color. We pledge to follow the lead of the communities of color that have joined MEDICC’s Community Partnerships for Health Equity (CPHE) in over a dozen US cities, and to support them as they continue to organize for equity, justice and true public safety; to continue to address racism through our support for US medical students and graduates of Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine, our scientific journal MEDICC Review, and renewed travel programs for US health professionals to Cuba.
MEDICC stands by the belief that Black lives, and those of all people of color, must be respected, protected, nurtured and defended.