Racism is a Global Health Issue

June 02, 2020

Global Health Council Statement on Recent Violence against Black Americans 

Washington, D.C., June 2, 2020 – By now, the entire world is aware of tragic events unfolding across America. Pervasive injustice and systemic exclusion cause egregious disparities in the U.S. and around the world, and as public health professionals, we must use our voice to not only call them out, but motivate ourselves more to ensure just and inclusive action going forward. 

People of color in the United States are disproportionately affected by the short- and long-term effects of structural racism and discrimination, from police violence to higher maternal mortality rates. These are further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Black and Latinx communities. While we as global health advocates have long chanted the mantra of “leave no one behind” outside our borders, it is critical we acknowledge and address this similar scourge at home. 

All too often, our sector has failed to apply the same principles of health justice to our fellow citizens as we do in international programs around the world. Global Health Council started a dialogue in recent years to explore why that is and how we address such a discrepancy in the era of a universal 2030 agenda. For now, we encourage each of us to stand in solidarity with other Americans and global champions focused on core social progress to push back against that which harms us all. We can only win this fight together.