Our Commitment to Anti-Racism and Continued Work Toward Health Equity
“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”Dr. Angela Y. Davis
Breathe California Sacramento Region (BCSR) joins our community in mourning the tragic and senseless deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless Black lives taken prematurely by racist violence and police brutality. We stand in solidarity with the Black community and with every individual who has marched, signed petitions, and found their anti-racist voices to demand an end to the systemic racism that is pervasive throughout the United States – because Black Lives Matter.
We have taken the last several weeks to listen, learn, and reflect upon how our public health centered organization can better serve the community as anti-racists and in the pursuit of health equity for our Sacramento community members.
BCSR seeks to create greater health equity in our community – which means working toward an existence where everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. At BCSR, we do our part to try and remove barriers that exist for our community members to attain their highest level of health through our work in air quality improvement and lung health preservation.
Our work is founded in the recognition of the ways the tobacco industry preys on Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and the LGBTQ+ communities, and similarly how these members of our community suffer disproportionately from higher exposure to air pollution. We will continue our commitment to this work backed by the understanding of the intricate ways that the systemic discriminatory practices built into the foundation of our nation continue to detrimentally effect our community members – and that things must change.
Racism and police violence are pressing public health crises across the United States that require immediate attention; they are part of the Social Determinants of Health, and without improving these determinants of our community’s health, our work in other areas will be for nothing.
In addition to continuing our work for improved health equity, BCSR is taking these first steps – and continuing to evaluate ways in which we can improve and become advocates for our Black community members:
- In our community programing, we will take extra steps to ensure that BIPOC community member voices are included in needs assessment evaluations to ensure their needs specific to our programs are being met.
- We will continue to actively seek to staff our organization and fill Board of Directors roles with community members that represent the demographics of the communities we serve.
- To support continued education, we are compiling a list of suggested reading and viewing for staff members.
- We are planning a training for staff and Board of Directors members on the intricate connections between historical injustices in our Country, their lasting effects today, the way they impact our community’s Social Determinants of Health as barriers to achieving health equity, and how we can optimize the work we do to do our part in removing barriers to health for our community members.
- We are committed to continually seeking ways that we can support anti-racism in the context of the work we do in our community. We know that there is a lot of work to do, and we all must do more to create lasting and meaningful change in our communities.