Friday June 5th, 2020: A Statement on Black Lives Matter

APAMSA mourns and condemns the murders of George Floyd (5/25/20), Breonna Taylor (3/13/20), Tony McDade (5/27/20), and Ahmaud Arbery (2/23/20).

We recognize that these senseless deaths are part of a long history of police brutality and violence against Black people in America. This is a public health issue: police brutality is a leading cause of death for young Black men in the United States, and the chronic stress associated with systemic racial inequity causes disproportionate suffering in Black communities through lower quality of life and mental health. Barriers to resources further exacerbate racial inequities in health outcomes for chronic diseases and acute illness alike, including COVID-19.

As Asian/Pacific Islander Americans, we recognize that anti-black racism is one of the foundations of injustice in the United States, and paves the way for racism against other people of color. Correspondingly, we know that Black activists paved the way for our communities in their fight for voting rights, for integration, for equality. So just as Black leaders have stood with us in solidarity against the anti-Asian racism exacerbated by this pandemic, we stand with them against anti-black racism and affirm that Black Lives Matter.

At the same time, we know that Asian communities have perpetrated anti-blackness, benefited from proximity to whiteness, and contributed to the oppression of Black communities. One of the police officers present at George Floyd’s murder was Asian; he was complicit, as many of us are, in his silence and inaction. We are committed to self-reflection, to identifying and rooting out anti-blackness within ourselves and our communities, and to learning from our Black colleagues.

Additionally, as future medical professionals, we are called to provide the best possible care for our patients, no matter who they are. Doing so, however, is impossible in a system where Black men are regularly and unjustly killed by law enforcement without consequence. This consistent failure to protect and serve Black communities directly undermines the work we do as healers for our Black patients. Thus, in our mission to “do no harm,” we must call out and work to dismantle racism in healthcare and in society more broadly. And we cannot do this alone: we need our institutions of learning to center the voices of our Black colleagues and teachers, recognize racism as a public health issue, and educate our next generation of healthcare leaders to combat racism throughout their careers.

Finally, as the leaders of APAMSA, we call on our members to stand with us, to learn more about these issues and the ways in which they have been complicit in anti-blackness, and to actively speak out and fight against racism. This is a difficult, emotionally challenging process, but we are all here to support each other as we improve our community, our society, and - most importantly - Black lives. To quote Angela Davis: "In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be antiracist."

Actions:

In solidarity,

National APAMSA