Reflections on Systemic Racism in America

Over the past week, we have been torn about how to respond to the death of George Floyd and the resulting demands for justice taking place across our country. The murder of another human being by police officers is a symptom of underlying disease that has been a part of this country since it’s founding: systemic racism. Systemic racism is a public health crisis that we have allowed to go unaddressed for generations. Today must be the day we change that. We cannot stay silent about the public systems in this country that have abused African Americans and other racial minorities for centuries. 

As pharmacists, we can no longer remain blind and feign ignorance to the fact that the healthcare industry in this country is stacked against black Americans and people of color. It is not a coincidence that maternal death rates are highest among black women. Or that people of color collectively have higher rates of chronic illness, premature death, and often fail to receive the right care for pain, pneumonia, and post-surgery complications. Systemic racism is the reason for poorer health outcomes. It is the basis for social determinants of health, and we must commit ourselves to breaking this system to build a more equitable one. Small fixes just won’t work anymore. 

We have two goals at the Grassroots Pharmacist: to provide high value educational resources to shape perspectives on policy and to inspire others to make change. While we are committed to doing our part to provide education on how policy will impact racial health disparities in this country, we recognize that there is more to be done. We implore all of our readers, regardless of race, to educate yourselves on the issues affecting our friends and neighbors. Learn about the challenges they face in our society, and then ask questions when you need to. Take the time to amplify black voices and do your part to create a more equitable society for all of us. 

Here are some resources to help us get started: 

Tragic Death of George Floyd Reveals Continuing Problem of Police Violence

2 Public Health Crises have Collided in the Protests Over George Floyd’s Death 

Racism is a Public Health Issue and ‘Police Brutality Must Stop.’ Medical Groups Say

Please consider donating to the following groups to support the people risking their lives to speak out against injustice and create a more just world. 

Black Lives Matter

American Civil Liberties Union

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Official George Floyd Memorial Fund

Official Breonna Taylor Memorial Fund 

Nationwide Bail Fund

Michael & Nimit

Published by The Grassroots Pharmacist

We are pharmacists passionate about engaging pharmacists in advancing health policy

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