In joining with the justified national reactions in protest of the recent murders of Black Americans over the past weeks and for many years, the Latinx Physicians of California extend our sincerest sympathies and express solidarity with the millions of families and communities who are experiencing traumatic grief at this time.
The murder of George Floyd who could not breathe under the heavy knee of a white policeman was a preventable tragedy in a long history of killing by police of Black men, women and children across our nation. We are angered, ashamed, and concerned by the large number of black-skinned lives taken by government servants who are sworn to protect our communities. We believe everyone should be treated equally and skin color should be perceived as a physical trait, not a physical threat.
We acknowledge that, in this country, structural racism is ingrained into our institutions and policies. We note that racism structures opportunity and assigns value based on how a person looks, particularly the color of their skin. This results in conditions that unfairly advantage some and unfairly disadvantage others. Structural racism is a driving force of the social determinants of health, disease, and death (like housing, education, employment, transportation, and health care) and is a barrier to achieving health justice and equity. Racism hurts the health of our nation by preventing some people and communities the opportunity to attain their highest level of health and well-being.
This continues to affect the lives of people and communities of color who, far too often, must fight for the right to exist. As a Latinx-focused health professional organization, we know that factors like country of origin, language or culture define our communities, and that, in this country, the fight against racial and health injustice unites us. We call for anti-racism considerations and action in all levels and sectors of society, particularly in the political, economic, and social arenas, including health care.
Racism is a significant public health crisis that requires all our attention and response now, just as we’ve done with the COVID-19 pandemic. We join the call for an end to attacks on Black Americans. We, as Latinx health professionals and leaders, are committed to promoting social justice and health equity for all Americans, regardless of their ancestral background or skin color. We have and will continue to practice anti-racism in our health professional work and advocacy. Anti-racism opposes policies that have racist outcomes and supports a much more egalitarian, emancipatory society.
We are in solidarity with Black communities and allies who are protesting around the country to condemn
racism and white supremacy and are committed to the joint struggle for social and health justice.
Salud y Justicia.
LPOC Board of Directors:
José Alberto Arévalo, MD, FAAFP, Chairman
Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, PhD, Vice-Chairman
Silvia Diego, MD, Treasurer
Richard Baker, MD, Secretary
Allison Brashear, MD, MBA
Consuelo (Connie) Casillas, MD
James Cruz, MD
Karina Diaz, LMSA Representative
Alvaro Garza, MD, MPH**
Margarita Loeza, MD
John R. Valencia, JD, Legal Counsel
Bobby Peña, CEO
**Thanks to Dr. Garza for his eloquence in leading the drafting of this statement.