Statement from LPHI CEO Shelina Davis on Racism as a Public Health Issue in Response to the Murder of George Floyd
Watching the video last week of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a police officer as he said over and over “I can’t breathe” was horrific. I am angry. As a Black woman in this country, every single moment of every single day, I am made aware of my blackness. As a public health professional, family member, and friend who sees poor health outcomes disproportionately impacting Black people, year after year, including COVID, I know at the very core of all of this is the long standing, persistent presence of systemic and institutional racism that has plagued our nation since its founding.
Enough is enough. We must remember George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and the countless Black Americans who have been murdered because of ingrained racist beliefs and the countless policies at federal, state, and local levels that have taken lives, and opportunity from Black people. We must unite together to eliminate racism and the policies that perpetuate it — in all forms from our society.
I join my colleagues and commit my organization, the Louisiana Public Health Institute, to addressing Racism as a public health issue. We call upon our partners, our policy makers, our residents to join us in identifying and adopting anti-racist policies so that we uphold the human right to be healthy and well and afford an equal opportunity for Black people to thrive, live, and breathe.
The world feels dark, yet we will force light to shine through.