A statement to BUILD communities and allies in the fight for equity, dated June 4, 2020:
“Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.”
– Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The first half of 2020 has been unrelenting in terms of the trauma inflicted on our country, particularly on our Black community. With the death of more than 100,000 Americans due to COVID-19, followed by the senseless killing of Ahmaud Arbery; Breonna Taylor; and George Floyd—emblems of centuries of systemic oppression and police brutality rooted in racism—the country’s sorrow cannot be contained any longer.
The change that must take place for our country to heal is of such great scale that it will require all of us, working together, to shine the light that exposes inequality, and actively advance policies that will change our collective futures for the better.
To all of you who share BUILD’s vision of health equity, and who have dedicated your lives to tearing down broken systems and advocating for change—your efforts are critically important as we confront our nation’s legacy of oppression of Black people. At the core of our efforts are the fundamental truths that Black Lives Matter and that our shared fight against racism, injustice, and inequality is inextricably linked to public health. These social ills are present in every social determinant of health and, like dust, have permeated the very air we breathe and infected the systems that uphold our society.
Together, we must raise our voices to help reshape, reform, and repair the bridges that connect and unify us as a country. As your community identifies its path forward, we stand with you and support your efforts to ensure that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to live their healthiest life.