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MLA Public Health/Health Administration (PH/HA) Caucus Statement: Racism Is a Public Health Crisis

June 4, 2020

Racism and law enforcement violence present destructive impacts on individuals, communities, and public health. The effects of the systemic racism built into our country, compounded by law enforcement violence, enact daily harms and death on Black people and all people of color, as well as other underrepresented and underserved communities. The brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are yet another graphic representation of the horrors that are daily inflicted upon Blacks and other People of Color in our communities, and which were built on more than 500 years of systems and structures that created—and still perpetuate—racism and oppression. It is time for this injustice to end.

The PH/HA Caucus of MLA stands with the American Public Health Association, MLA, the African African American Medical Library Alliance (AAMLA) Caucus, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and other library and health care organizations in condemning violence and racism toward Black people and all People of Color.

We draw upon AAMLA and Latinx Caucus statements in saying that PH/HA is committed to:

  • Using our voices to enact change in the profession, in the association, and in our communities
  • Listening to and validating Black, African American, and Afro-Latinx library colleagues’ experiences
  • Reading and promoting information that supports anti-racism in our profession, in health care, and in our communities.

Racism is a public health crisis and is a root cause of the shameful health disparities in the United States. In the past few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how this legacy has directly contributed to reduced access to testing, treatment, and care, and to increased mortality among communities of color. In our twin roles as public health and information professionals, it is our duty to confront the immorality of the status quo and work to dismantle it.

We are grateful to members of our community who lead this anti-racism work, and we look to follow their example by engaging more fully in this ongoing fight for justice.

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