June 19, 2020
Today we mark an important milestone in our nation’s path toward change and equality. On this day in 1865, two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the slaves of Galveston, Texas finally learned that the Civil War was over and they were free. Yet, on this Juneteenth we reflect with heavy hearts that the promise of freedom, equality and justice still remain out of reach for many people of color.
We mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks, and the millions of men, women and children before them who were targets of violence because of the color of their skin. We bear witness to direct effect of violence, stress, physical and mental abuse on the health and well-being of our patients, neighbors, friends and family and acknowledge that until all of us are free, none of us are.
Community Health Centers sprang into existence 55 years ago in the struggle against racism. Our work is far from finished. Racism remains a public health issue that demands our national attention. Health disparities continue to plague minority communities because of systemic racism, whether it is childbirth, cancer, depression and other chronic diseases. People of color are also suffering and dying from COVID-19 at higher numbers than the general population, filing unemployment claims and worried about losing their homes and feeding their families. As healers, we can do better – and we dedicate ourselves to the task of trying harder to eradicate poverty, illness, hate, bias and brutality in our communities.
As we begin an important and long overdue conversation about the profound effects of racism and violence on people, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) reaffirms our commitment to equity and social justice. We pledge to continue the critical work of helping all stakeholders achieve these goals.
Established in 1971, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) serves as the national voice for America’s Health Centers and as an advocate for health care access for the medically underserved and uninsured.