Ongoing work on racial justice

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

Kneel with not on 02

The killing of George Floyd at the hands of police on May 25 prompted protests around the country that continue to this day, bringing racism and anti-Black­ness to the forefront. Floyd’s death followed that of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and subse­quent shoot­ings of Black people by police include the Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

WSNA issued a state­ment calling for an end to systemic racism, racial violence and police brutality on May 31. On June 5, WSNA’s presi­dent and cabinet chair shared a letter calling racism a public health emergency. The American Nurses Associ­a­tion and AFT – Nurses and Health Profes­sionals, our national union, issued state­ments, as well.

Our organi­za­tions recog­nize that a state­ment is not enough and that we need to work actively to dismantle systemic racism, end violence at the hands of police and elimi­nate health dispar­i­ties. The COVID-19 crisis and its dispro­por­tionate effects on Black, Indige­nous and Latinx commu­ni­ties have under­lined the need to address the crises of racism, COVID-19 and the economic impacts of the pandemic, which are also falling most heavily on commu­ni­ties of color.

WSNA recog­nizes that we have much to do as an organi­za­tion to address systemic racism. We have conducted diver­sity, equity and inclu­sion train­ings with the WSNA Board of Direc­tors, Cabinet on Economic and General Welfare, and WSNA staff, and the Board and Cabinet are working with staff and members to craft a resolu­tion for consid­er­a­tion at the 2021 WSNA Conven­tion and Business Meeting to include specific action steps moving forward.

Resolu­tions on racial justice were approved at the recent ANA Member­ship Assembly and by the AFT Execu­tive Council.

We recog­nize that a resolu­tion does not repre­sent decisive action to dismantle racism and health dispar­i­ties — it is a commit­ment and a plan of action. We hope you join us in moving the work forward.

WSNA statement calling for an end to systemic racism, racial violence and police brutality #

Black patients matter

WSNA stands in solidarity with all those who are calling for an end to systemic racism, racial violence and police brutality. We also are calling on our profes­sion to look hard at the many ways racism manifests itself in our health care system and in patient care. We must do better.

Racism is a public health emergency #

Emergency sign

Racism is a public health emergency as much as the coron­avirus pandemic is, but it can’t be solved by devel­oping a vaccine, insti­tuting widespread testing or social distancing.” Read this letter from Lynnette Vehrs, MN, RN, WSNA Presi­dent, and Julia Barcott, RN, Chair of the WSNA Cabinet on Economic and General Welfare. 

ANA's membership assembly adopts resolution on racial justice for communities of color #

The American Nurses Associ­a­tion (ANA) 2020 Member­ship Assembly condemns the brutal death of George Floyd and the many other Black, Indige­nous, and People of Color who have been unjustly killed by individ­uals within law enforce­ment. Such cruelty and abject racism must not go unchallenged.”

AFT resolution: Confronting racism and in support of Black lives #

“…the American Feder­a­tion of Teachers renews its commit­ment to end systemic racism in America, partic­u­larly in the criminal justice system, and to fight to ensure fair and equitable treat­ment of people of color, as well as members of other margin­al­ized communities…