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.
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 #
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 #
“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…