"I CAN’T BREATHE."
Across the country and even the globe, citizens of all races, colors, social classes, statuses, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, physical abilities, and religious beliefs are mourning the May 25th, 2020 murder of George Floyd. Tragically, Mr. Floyd is not alone. He joins the long list of so many other African American individuals who were unjustly murdered, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Quanice Hayes, Atatiana Jefferson, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown. As healthcare providers and concerned citizens of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Colorado, we are outraged and heartbroken at the blatantly ignored cries from both Mr. Floyd and Mr. Garner of, “I can’t breathe,” and we join in this collective mourning.
Racial inequities worsen many social and economic aspects of human life. The impact of racist actions and words, especially those perpetrated by the police and the judicial system, cause severe psychological stress leading to chronic diseases. There is abundant evidence that health disparities and negative health outcomes are overwhelmingly felt by communities of color.
At PSR Colorado, we both support and advocate for the health and safety of all people, especially the most vulnerable populations, which within Colorado as in throughout this country, includes Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We are dedicated to protecting human life from the gravest threats to health and survival. As data shows, racism and its effects are, indeed, one of the gravest threats to both health and survival, as experienced by the African-American community for 400 years. It is important to highlight the disproportionate exposure and impacts of environmental toxins - including radionuclides, contaminants of fracking, and the climate crisis - on the health of vulnerable populations and communities of color. The reason for this is multi-faceted and rooted deep in American history and systemic racism.
We implore our local, state, and federal leaders and agencies to acknowledge and take action to eliminate these harmful disparities. We at PSR Colorado lend our voice to this important fight for racial equity, health, and survival.
We appreciate the AMA’s strong evidence-based statement on this critical issue:
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial ‘outside agitator’ idea.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 4/16/63
PSR Colorado works to elevate the voice of health professionals to protect the public from adverse health impacts of hydraulic fracturing, the climate crisis, and exposures to radionuclides and other toxic substances on current and future generations. PSR Colorado advocates for solutions to reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear energy.