The National Health Law Program defends the health care rights of all individuals. Inspired by this quote by South African social rights activist Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor,” we must step up and condemn the injustices that continue to take place in our country during these times of particular vulnerability.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor
Even as we continue to focus on the disproportionate impact of COVID on people of color, a series of interconnected events should awaken our collective conscience to the fact that racism persists in the U.S. Just in the past weeks, we have borne witness to the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and a racist attack on Christian Cooper. It’s been said before but people of color should not have to fear for their lives when going about their daily activities, whether going for a run, staying in their homes, or birdwatching. We condemn this ongoing brutality perpetrated against Black people–whether it be at the hands of the police or people living in our communities.
We are a progressive organization, but we acknowledge that we too have been shaped by the historical and structural racism that has benefited whites over everyone else. We are doing our best to correct these inequalities, internally and externally, and we call on others to do the same. As we state in our equity stance
, NHeLP believes that peoples’ characteristics and circumstances — including where they walk, run, and live — should not result in their deaths. Yet no matter where we go, racism — historical, structural, and governmental — pervades our society.
We must all do better.