ANA, AFT pass resolutions on racial justice

This story was published in the Fall 2020 issue of The Washington Nurse magazine.

This story appears in Ongoing work on racial justice.

The American Nurses Associ­a­tion and the American Feder­a­tion of Teachers both passed resolu­tions last week calling for racial justice and action to combat racism.

The ANA resolu­tion, Racial Justice for Commu­ni­ties of Color, was passed on June 20 as part of the association’s Member­ship Assembly, which was held virtu­ally this year.

The resolu­tion states, in part, that:

Racism is a public health crisis that impacts the mental, spiri­tual, and physical health of all people. The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Inter­pre­tive State­ments oblig­ates nurses to be allies and to advocate and speak up against racism, discrim­i­na­tion, and injus­tice. Consis­tent with this oblig­a­tion, ANA has taken positions against racism, discrim­i­na­tion and health care dispar­i­ties and advocating for human rights.
ANA, along with nurses every­where, are again called to action. Collec­tively, we must emerge from silence and speak with one strong voice as leaders and role models of compas­sion and empathy for our patients, families, commu­ni­ties and most impor­tantly, towards one another. Our voice is our commit­ment to making a differ­ence in all that we do for those we serve.

ANA pledges, among other things, to oppose racism and discrim­i­na­tion; condemn brutality by law enforce­ment; educate, advocate, and collab­o­rate to end systemic racism, partic­u­larly within nursing; and advocate for the ending of health inequities within commu­ni­ties and health care systems that stem from systemic racism.

Read the full resolu­tion.

The American Feder­a­tion of Teachers Execu­tive Council on June 17 passed a resolu­tion, Confronting Racism and in Support of Black Lives, that lays out 19 commit­ments to combat system­atic racism and violence against Black people, including the separa­tion of school safety from policing and police forces.

The council resolved to support commu­nity allies that are spear­heading this work, including Black Lives Matter, Color of Change and the NAACP, and committed to demil­i­ta­rize policing and support national efforts to provide oversight of states through federal legis­la­tion prohibiting police brutality. This includes supporting trans­parent legal proce­dures for holding police officers account­able for miscon­duct and viola­tions of law.

The resolu­tion comes on the anniver­sary of the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston, S.C., and in the wake of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, and as the union reflects on centuries of oppres­sion of Black Americans.

The resolu­tion builds on the work of the AFT’s Racial Equity Task Force to combat anti-Black­ness and its harmful effects. It calls for cultural compe­tency and implicit bias training for our local leaders and members, to encourage a better under­standing between students, patients and the commu­ni­ties they serve.

Read the full resolu­tion.

Read the press release.

Ongoing work on racial justice