In ‘historic’ 5-to-0 vote Tuesday, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors formerly declared racism a public health crisis, vowing to identify, confront and defeat racism while prioritizing health for people of color working ‘through a lens of racial equality’
LOS ANGELES (June 25, 2020) AHF commended San Bernardino County and its five-member Board of Supervisors for their historic, unanimous vote Tuesday declaring racism a public health crisis, believed to be a first such declaration by any government body in California–and likely even nationwide.
AHF, the largest global AIDS organization and currently caring for more than 1.4 million patients in 45 countries across the globe–and which has its origins and deepest roots here in Southern California–urged Los Angeles County and other California counties and elected government bodies as well as those around the nation to quickly follow San Bernardino’s bold lead declaring racism a public health crisis.
“From South Central to South Africa, AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been providing lifesaving medical care and services to people living with HIV and AIDS for over thirty years,” said Cynthia Davis, MPH, Chair of AHF’s Board of Directors and a resident of San Bernardino County who also grew up there. “Given the makeup of many of the populations of clients we serve, we have seen firsthand—and work tirelessly to address—racial and ethnic disparities in health care. We offer San Bernardino County and its Board of Supervisors our heartfelt commendation and thanks for this important declaration that racism IS a public health crisis and urge other counties and governments to quickly follow suit with so important, if difficult a recognition.”
On June 2nd, AHF and its Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC), an affinity group of AHF, announced the relaunch of their #StandAgainstHate campaign, a national advocacy, awareness and action campaign intended to take on and challenge the racism, hatred, police abuse targeting African Americans and a burgeoning white supremacy movement that continue to sweep our nation. One of the first newspaper advertisements run and billboards posted nationally in this updated campaign includes the headline, “Racism is a Public Health Issue.” (see ‘Racism is a Public Health Issue’ Fact Sheet)
The revival of the #StandAgainstHate campaign came in direct response to the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer and an ongoing, tragic pattern of other high profile deaths of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers or involving or connected to police departments—including the deaths earlier this year of jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and EMT Breonna Taylor in Louisville, KY. AHF launched its initial #StandAgainstHate campaign in August 2017 in response to the civil rights and social justice tragedy so brutally unmasked in Charlottesville, VA and its aftermath.
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