Call to Action: fighting racism is a public health imperative

Injustices and violence founded upon white supremacy and fueled by racism continue to be enacted across the country. These injustices highlight the shaky ground of racism and genocide on which our nation was founded.  We understand that there is nothing we can say to assuage the pain that has been caused to so many, most specifically by white individuals through personal acts as well as systemic, structural racism. We want to be clear that at CPHA we remain committed to working towards justice and fighting racism within our realms of influence, including within ourselves as an advising team.

We know that many of you join us, and we call on many more to come along with us in taking personal action towards fighting racism. This very much includes listening and learning. We also know that many of you have been in this fight for your entire lives.

To be clear, this is a call to action because fighting racism is a public health imperative! 

Racism is a health issue and fighting racism – in ourselves and in our communities – will require anti-racist health professionals. Black individuals die in disproportionate numbers in the hands of law enforcement. Black, Latinx, and Indigenous People of Color become ill and die from COVID-19 at disproportionate rates. Communities of color face conscious and unconscious racism from a predominantly white system of health professionals, which leads to poorer health outcomes compared to white individuals. These are health issues, and they are fueled by inequities founded upon racism. Health professionals have the privilege and responsibility to change our US healthcare systems. We must work alongside and in support of community members and health professionals of color in Madison who are leading the charge towards health equity!

BLACK LIVES MATTER. It is not just a slogan. It is a call to action. We stand in solidarity with all those rallying in so many ways to end police brutality and other dehumanizing forms of racism in our communities. We stand for Jacob Blake, George Floyd, David McAtee, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Botham Jean, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tony Robinson, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and so many others. We stand for all of YOU who face racism and bigotry during your experiences as a UW-Madison student and beyond.

Words cannot replace action. Those of us who are white need to do more than talk, think, and feel deep sadness over the loss of Black and Brown lives. We need to educate ourselves on the explicit and implicit racisms we enact every day. We need to advocate with and alongside people of color and work for sustainable change. Each of us can do something, and we all need to do more. Do it for the sake of justice and our common humanity. Do it because you would want someone to do it for you. Do it out of love. Do it because it is the right thing to do.

We are here to help support you! Here are some additional resources to keep in mind as you navigate this time and beyond:

Know your Rights – ACLU Guide to Protester’s Rights

Support Black-Owned Businesses

Anti-Racism Resources
75 Things White People Can Do To Be Anti-Racist
10 Things White People Can Do To Be Anti-Racist
Anti-Racist Resource Guide
Anti-Racism and Mental Health Resources
Ways to Help
Stream to Donate (don’t skip ads)
BLM Resources
Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness (local!)
Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association – Supporting Black Men’s Health (local!)
Campus Mental Health Resources
Campus Wellness Resources

In solidarity,
The Center for Pre-Health Advising

Health is more than the absence of disease. Health is about jobs and employment, education, the environment, and all of those things that go into making us healthy.
– Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Former US surgeon general