President's Perspective

ECC Reflections on the Health and Racial Violence Pandemics

Posted
Denise Fairchild

A Luta Continua

(The Struggle Continues)


Our Emerald Cities family is outraged and grieves with the country as we all witness and, too many of us, directly experience the impact of a society that values money and power over people and planet.  The ravages of the pandemic and the senseless killing of George Floyd expose all that is wrong with America, and all that needs to be done to construct a society worth living in.  It clarifies and fortifies our mission and resolve to continue in the struggle.  

The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on both the health of our families and our economy – although disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable --  are widespread.  So now is the time  to galvanize unlikely partners to rebuild our health system.  The deficiencies are glaring.  We need universal health care.  We need to strengthen our public health system for all future biological and environmental disasters.  We need better health care delivery systems.   Now that we’ve discovered our essential workers it’s time to give them the dignity, respect and livable wages that they deserve.  And, clearly we need to focus on investments needed to fix the underlying conditions – environmental, economic and social -  that make low-income populations vulnerable to all manner of health and economic disasters.  

Similarly, the murder of George Floyd widens the crack to rethink our notions of and approach to public safety.    Clearly, more police accountability, community policing, and changes to our criminal and correctional systems are needed. It’s a new aha moment for many peripheral to this social justice work.  We need to reconstitute the civil and human rights agencies that have been dismantled at the federal and local levels in recent years.  But upstream solutions to public safety are more enduring. New ideas around a public health approach to public safety are emerging; marrying solutions to the health pandemic with the pandemic of racial violence.  This includes investments in jobs, education, housing and community resilience that contribute to lower incidences of crime and the need for policing.  All of this with a racial lens as a barometer of justice.

These times appear to be new challenges for some.  But for many, it is a daily reality; part of an intergenerational struggle with deep wounds and scars that don’t seem to heal.   What is hopeful for many in the struggle is the renewed awareness and consciousness within the larger body politic.  The pain is felt more broadly.  So, let’s make this the righteous fight that we have been waiting for.  We need it now more than ever as our constitutional, civil and human rights are quickly eroding.  We at Emerald Cities Collaborative are ready for the escalation of change and stand in solidarity with each of you in building a more just society. A luta continua.   

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