It has been one year since George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. Today, we speak his name.
In the past year, our country has had a reckoning with racial injustice. While the criminal justice system in the United States is rooted in white supremacy, this is not only about the police. Systemic racism permeates our society.
Systemic racism is in housing and education, employment and health care. It has shown up in the COVID-19 pandemic. And we’ve seen it for decades in the HIV epidemic.
Ending the HIV epidemic in the United States requires acknowledging, discussing and addressing the deep-seated and pervasive role racism plays in the country’s failure to achieve health equity, safety and fairness for all.
We cannot end the epidemic without prioritizing the health and well-being of Black people.
We cannot end the epidemic without major shifts in our health care and criminal justice systems.
And we need our elected officials to act. (Read our open letter released last summer.)
Ending the HIV epidemic requires doing more than simply saying #BlackLivesMatter. We must support and invest in Black people living with and affected by HIV in every community and at all levels of our organizations and work.
It starts by looking at ourselves and the systems in which we operate. We’ve launched the Racial Justice Index to document and remedy the disconnect between HIV leadership and community impact.
Today, we remember George Floyd.
We speak his name and lift up all those whose lives have been taken by people and policies rooted in systemic racism.
We must all reaffirm our commitments to dismantling these deadly forces. Our work as public health advocates requires it.