AHF: Institutional Racism Harms Nation’s Health

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In response to broader societal issues raised by the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, AHF continues its call for health care access as a basic civil right and stands with citizens of the United States, Reverend Al Sharpton, National NAACP President Cornell William Brooks, and others in the fight against institutionalized racism nationwide.

LOS ANGELES (August 14, 2014) In response to the senseless killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson MO police and the subsequent use of high-tech military weaponry to disperse peaceful protestors, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the world’s largest AIDS organization, is issuing a statement of solidarity with those seeking justice for Michael Brown.

With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Act, AHF recognizes that the problems of institutional racism around issues of health disparities and public safety within African-American communities are inextricably linked in the fight for civil rights. AHF continues to work tirelessly to address these issues at the root by providing access to care for all while supporting grassroots efforts of activists and faith-based leaders in the African-American community nationwide.

“The segregation now visible to the world in Ferguson is the same segregation we sadly see in HIV—African-American communities are disproportionally affected by HIV, struggle with affordable access to quality care, and are relentlessly ignored by a system that frankly treats their lives as less valuable,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Last year, AHF launched the AIDS is A Civil Rights Issue campaign and Keep The Promise Marches, featuring numerous town hall discussions with keynote speaker Reverend Al Sharpton, Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, community politicians, activists, leaders, and concerned residents intended to shed light on the racial disparity in HIV/AIDS.  Currently African Americans account for 44% of all people with HIV/AIDS in the United States, yet only account for 12% of the population.

“If we are going to confront AIDS as a civil rights issue, then the discussion must also address and include the basic struggles for civilian safety fought everyday by those of all ages and genders within the African-American community,” said Samantha Granberry, AHF Senior Director of National Marketing & Sales. “What’s happening in Ferguson right now is just one example of a rampant problem of institutional racism that is bad for the nation’s health. Devaluing lives is a major obstacle to health promotion, but when one joins together to become many in the call for civil rights, change can come.”

 

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