Today’s verdict on George Floyd’s murder is a resounding outcry that Black Lives Matter. It reminds us of our collective humanity. It reminds us of the sacred responsibility we share to stand together for what is right. It fortifies our resolve that injustices can no longer prevail. Too many lives have been needlessly lost. We say, Enough!
Over the past year, we have issued statements after statement in response to acts of violence and injustice against people of color. Too many. And those statements do matter. But our words, our statements alone, are not enough. It is not enough to say we stand in solidarity, that our hearts go out, that we are angry and saddened by what got us here.
Because words without actions too quickly become empty.
We know that so many people in our community feel the heavy burden, the pain, the sadness, and the outrage over racial injustices and violence. The need to act is palpable.
As a community health center, we were founded on the bedrock of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. Sixty years later, look where we stand as a nation, buffeted by racism. By intolerance. By inequity.
The murder of George Floyd is a reckoning – an unimaginable cost of a history of racism and intolerance that has, from the beginning, challenged the very premise upon which our nation was built, promising liberty and justice for all.
The question remains, how do we move beyond words to action, action that bears fruit, and which effects systemic social change? For Lowell Community Health Center, it means acknowledging that racism exists and is a public health crisis. It means addressing where we have fallen short. And it means taking action to address the crisis that is racism. It is part of our duty, to uphold the wellbeing of our patients and our community. We will be unapologetic in doing so.
The Health Center Board has issued a resolution declaring that racism is a public health crisis. That is acknowledgement. We outlined eight steps for addressing that crisis. And we committed to taking action – by sharing data, examining our hiring practices, changing the narratives that we use to describe the work we do and the people we are honored to serve, and challenging one another to put inclusion, diversity, and equity at the top of every priority list.
This moment is a reminder that acknowledging also means speaking out and speaking up, no matter how difficult or frowned upon.
We must speak up in the face of racism or white supremacy. Our community is too beautiful, and too precious to do otherwise.
Enough is enough. #BlackLivesMatter